Karachi: Given the hectic cricketing schedule, many players are now mulling over giving up one format of the game to prolong their careers, especially given the fact that there are so many franchise leagues going around which every player wants to be a part of. Recently, England stalwart Ben Stokes retired from ODI cricket saying that his body can’t bear so much pressure. A journalist recently asked a relatable question to Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and got a stunning reply in return. The journo questioned if senior players like he, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi should retire from one format to manage their workload. The journo pointed out injuries to the senior players as one of the main reasons for Pakistan’s loss against Sri Lanka in the second Test.
“You, Rizwan and Shaheen are the stars, pride of Pakistan cricket. Like we lost the second Test against Sri Lanka, kya aap ko nahi lagta ki hum depressed the, workload aap logo pe zyada tha? (Don’t you think the players were depressed, the workload was more?) So won’t it be a good idea if you people play only two formats”, asked the journalist ahead of the Pakistan team’s departure to the Netherlands for the ODI series.
However, Babar gave a stunning reply and said that all Pakistan players are fit enough to play all formats of the game. “It depends on your fitness. Abhi jis tarha hamari fitness hai, abhi aisa socha nahi hai ki hum do format mein aa jaye. Aapko kya lagta hai main budha ho gaya hu? ya hum budhe ho gaye hai? (The kind of fitness that we have, I don’t think we should limit ourselves to two formats. Do you think I have become old?)
Babar Azam has been in scintillating form in all formats of the game. He is the only batter at the moment to feature in top three rankings of all formats. He is number one in limited overs format and only behind Joe Root and Marnus Labuschagne in Test rankings. When asked if he will be looking to break more records against a weak Netherlands team, Babar said he doesn’t play for records and his only aim will be to lead the team to a win.
“I never go out to bat thinking about records. My only aim is to contribute and win matches for Pakistan,” he added.