Former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ramiz Raja has criticized the controversies that have surrounded national team skipper Babar Azam, despite his strong performances in white-ball cricket. Raja spoke out after Pakistan’s six-wicket win against New Zealand in the opening ODI on Monday, in which Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Fakhar Zaman scored half-centuries and Naseem Shah took five wickets.
Raja commended the performances of Azam and Rizwan, and said: “Babar Azam was under a lot of pressure for no reason, unfortunately. This is how a team’s atmosphere is spoiled. He’s being asked tough questions and put into pointless controversies. This team has done well recently in white-ball cricket, as they have avoided controversy and been consistent with their combination. He played a very good knock under pressure,” he said on his YouTube channel.p
The former commentator also criticized the decision to remove Rizwan from the ODI vice-captaincy, calling it a “bad decision that puts the team under pressure.” He said: “I don’t understand why he was removed from vice-captaincy. How will this benefit anyone? We know he gives his best for the team. There is no bigger fighter for Pakistan. Use his energy and commitment.”
Pakistan is currently in fifth place in the ODI rankings with 107 rating points, but has the opportunity to become the number one team in the world if they can sweep the series against New Zealand 3-0, which would take them to 114 rating points.
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