Dubai, Oct 25 Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann believes that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is ‘at the minute a different gravy with the bat’. He added that Azam is a seriously good player, so is his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan. Azam (68 not out off 52 balls) and Rizwan (79 not out off 55 balls) had an unbeaten opening partnership of 152, handing India a ten-wicket thrashing at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday. It was the first time ever that Pakistan won against India across all editions of the men’s T20 World Cup.
“Babar Azam at the minute is a different gravy with the bat. For ages in England, we kept saying why Joe Root is not part of the famous big three. I mean, you have Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Steve Smith and then it became the big four. Now Pakistan fans would say hang on a minute… I saw him score a century at Edgbaston. Oh my word, he is a seriously good player. And his partner at the other end, little Rizzy, he can bat as well,” Swann was quoted as saying by cricket.com on Monday.
Swann pointed out that early dismissals of Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Mohammad Shami by left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the power-play turned the match in Pakistan’s favour. “Those two early wickets of Rohit and Rahul,’let’s just face it, those two were unbelievable deliveries. Swinging in at more than 90 mph, pitching on off stump, and hitting the top of the middle. That was almost an unplayable delivery and then Rohit to face that yorker on the first delivery. That won the game for Pakistan.”
Swann, who was a member of the England team winning the 20’0 men’s T20 World Cup, was of the opinion that a comprehensive loss for India at the start of the tournament could help them in the long run. “Sometimes it’s good to get hammered at the start of the tournament because it feels like a real kick at the backside. The IPL being played just now, everyone saying India are the favourites, a bit of lethargy can creep into a team. Maybe India will find their edge because of this defeat.”
Swann signed off by saying that Pakistan’s path in the ongoing tournament could go either way. “Pakistan could easily win this tournament by winning all their games by 10 wickets or lose all their remaining matches, that’s how they go. They are a dangerous, dangerous team.”