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Renowned former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has bestowed high praise upon Pakistan’s batting maestro, Babar Azam, anticipating a resurgence in his form now that the burden of captaincy has been lifted. Gambhir, who had earlier predicted Azam to shine in the ODI World Cup, believes that cricket enthusiasts are yet to witness the best of Azam, asserting that the talented batsman has the potential to ascend to the zenith of Pakistan’s cricketing history.
In an interview with Sportskeeda, Gambhir shared insights into why his previous prediction during the ODI World Cup did not materialize as expected. According to him, the weight of captaincy adversely affected Azam’s batting performance, as leading a team under challenging circumstances can exert immense pressure on an individual. However, with Azam relinquishing the captaincy, Gambhir envisions a remarkable transformation in his game, unlocking his true potential as a batsman.
“You’ll see the best of Babar Azam now. You will see a completely different Babar Azam. Before the World Cup, I picked Babar as the batter of the tournament. But the pressure of captaincy hampered his form with the bat. It’s because when you are the skipper and your team isn’t performing well, you can imagine how much pressure he was under,” explained Gambhir.
Gambhir is optimistic that Azam, now unburdened by the responsibilities of captaincy, will showcase his actual capabilities, offering cricket aficionados a glimpse of a Babar Azam they have not witnessed before. The former Indian batter predicts that Azam, having stepped down from captaincy, could potentially enjoy another decade of stellar cricketing career without the additional pressures of leading the team.
“You will see the actual Babar Azam that no one has seen. From now until the day he retires, you will see his actual ability. Babar has so much quality that he can go out and become the best batter Pakistan has ever produced. He has got 10 years with no pressure of captaincy,” expressed Gambhir.
Babar Azam recently resigned from the captaincy across all three formats of the game, a move seen as a strategic decision to pave the way for fresh leadership within the team. The selectors have appointed Shaheen Shah Afridi as the successor in limited-overs formats and Shan Masood as the Test captain.
As Babar Azam gears up for the upcoming series against Australia, cricket enthusiasts are eager to witness the anticipated renaissance of this cricketing virtuoso, unshackled from the constraints of captaincy.