Losing wickets in clusters a problem area, says Pak skipper Babar Azam

by IANS |

Multan, June 14 (IANS) Pakistan captain Babar Azam has pointed out inconsistency in batting as the main reason for the ODI team's patchy performance, and said that the habit of losing wickets in clusters is something he would like to change quickly.

Pakistan recently demolished the touring West Indies side under Nicholas Pooran 3-0 here. They have lost just one 50-over game this calendar year as they attempt to continue their good recent run in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League.

But Babar Azam, the No.1 batter in ICC's ODI and T20I rankings, still believes plenty of work needs to be done to ensure automatic qualification for next year's World Cup in India next year.

"We still need to improve in certain areas," Babar was quoted as saying by ICC. The series win against West Indies helped Pakistan take the No.4 ICC ODI Ranking slot and push India to fifth.

"We still lose wickets in clusters in the middle which puts us on the back foot. Here the players need better concentration; it's an area to work on. The fielding has improved, but our body language still deteriorates when a good partnership develops, and it's another thing we can try and improve."

Pakistan's recent string of good performances has a lot to do with Babar's own form with the bat, with the No.1 ranked ODI batter in the world recently becoming just the second player to score three consecutive one-day centuries on two separate occasions.

But Babar knows he requires contributions from the entire side for Pakistan to thrive and the right-hander was buoyed by some of his team-mates performances during the series against West Indies.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq hit three consecutive half-centuries and was deservedly awarded Player of the Series, while Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz took seven scalps apiece to be the joint leading wicket-taker.

Babar was also impressed with the powerful hitting of Khushdil Shah as the 27-year-old continues to make a name for himself in the final overs of an innings.

"Bench strength always gives you a lift," Babar said.

"Knowing you have players on the bench who are ready to use is good to know. We had Iftikhar (Ahmed), Abdullah Shafique and (Shahnawaz) Dahani on the bench. We tried a different bowling combination and they performed very well. It's very satisfying as a captain to see that."

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