Babar Azam, ahead of Pakistan’s second test against Zimbabwe, has admitted that it is very important to give Test regulars some time in the field before the West Indies tour. While crediting the openers for giving them momentum, he praised Fawad Alam and his experience for helping them.
At 115/1, Pakistan had already made inroads in the Test match against Zimbabwe before a mini-collapse put the hosts on the top, at 226/4. However, a partnership that blossomed between Mohammed Rizwan and Fawad Alam ensured that the hosts would never get a second chance at dismissing the visitors for a total under 350, with Pakistan eventually getting 426 on the board.
Both the innings combined, Zimbabwe could only add 310 runs on the board, handing Pakistan comprehensive innings and 116 run victory. Ahead of the second encounter, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam admitted that it is important for the Asian side to give their Test regulars some game time before their series against West Indies.
"We will try to win the second Test as well, but we'll try to finalise the final XI after inspecting the pitch. We have a big series coming up against West Indies, so it's important to give some game time to our regular Test players. As a team, we want to keep winning wherever we tour," Babar said, reported Cricbuzz.
Babar credited the Pakistan openers - Imran Butt and Abid Ali - who scored 91 and 60 respectively for providing the platform for the middle-order. In specific, the Pakistan skipper pointed out that Fawad Alam’s experience helped them in the longest format, with the left-hander scoring a 204-ball 140.
"Our openers set the tone (in the first Test) and the middle order took forward the momentum, especially Fawad Alam whose experience was very important for us in Tests," said Azam.
On the bowling front, Hasan Ali continued his red-hot form, with a fifer in the second innings after picking up four in the first. Alongside him, Shaheen Afridi too picked a four-fer in the first innings. Babar credited the two bowlers and also backed all-rounder Faheem Ashraf to turn around his fortunes.
"Hasan Ali was outstanding and Shaheen Afridi bowled well, in fact, our bowlers dominated the first Test. Faheem Ashraf is one of our best all-rounders at the moment. He has performed well against New Zealand, and his performance was good against South Africa too. You can't write him off because of one poor performance,” he added.
While the right-hander has topped the ODI batting charts, he lost his footing in the longest format, slipping from sixth to ninth. However, he maintained that poor performances often directly impact the rankings.
"I don't focus much on the rankings. If you perform well, you'll be ranked amongst the top cricketers, but if you don't perform, you are likely to lose your place in the ICC player rankings," Babar obliged.