Former Pakistan team director, Mohammad Hafeez, recently shed light on the process of convincing Babar Azam to leave the opening slot for the betterment of the team during the T20I series against New Zealand.

In a candid discussion on a local sports channel, Hafeez disclosed that it took nearly two months to persuade Babar Azam to adjust his batting position in alignment with the team’s requirements.

“It took me about two months to convince Babar Azam that you have to do it for Pakistan and you are not the first one who’s doing it,” asserted Hafeez.

“You are a great player, you are a wonderful player and you are playing great cricket however you have to help develop the Pakistan team,” he added.

Hafeez emphasized the importance of reminding Babar and Mohammad Rizwan that the team’s success hinges on collective effort, not individual brilliance alone.

“You and Rizwan are very good players, excellent players but you are not the whole team. We need to develop a team and for that, I want you to come at number 3 because you have been playing this role in the ODI cricket for the last six years, so it won’t affect you; technically you are very solid,” Hafeez explained.

Expressing gratitude for Babar’s willingness to adapt, Hafeez acknowledged the significance of Babar’s move to the No. 3 spot, which ultimately proved beneficial for the team.

Babar Azam’s transition from opening the T20 matches to batting at No. 3 allowed young talent Saim Ayub to partner with Rizwan at the top of the order.

Source: PCB

This strategic adjustment reaped rewards, with Babar delivering notable performances, including scores of 57, 66, 58, 19, and 13 in the five T20Is against New Zealand.

Hafeez’s tenure as team director and head coach, following Pakistan’s disappointing World Cup 2023 campaign, saw mixed results.

Despite efforts to reshape the team dynamics, Pakistan faced a 3-0 whitewash in the Test series against Australia and a 4-1 defeat in the T20I series against New Zealand.

Last week, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided not to extend Hafeez’s contract with the national team, marking the end of his tenure as part of the coaching setup.

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