New Delhi, Sep 3: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam's defensive captaincy against India in the Asia Cup encounter faced criticism from ex-players from both nations as former star pacer Shoaib Akhtar suggested that the Pakistan fast bowler could have bowled a few more overs from one end with spin.
After Shaheen Afridi, who finished with 4-35, and fellow pacer Haris Rauf had India down to 66-4, sensible knocks from Ishan Kishan (82) and Hardik Pandya (87) rallied India to 266 all out. However, the match ended without a result as Pakistan did not get an opportunity to bat due to rain in Pallekele on Saturday.
"Pakistan fast bowling has done wonders. Pakistan should have continued with pacers with short two-over spells from one end and operated spin from only one end. Pakistan should have bowled India out inside 40 overs itself. Pakistan should have capitalized after reducing India to 66-4. Babar Azam needs to be more aggressive as a captain," Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra, a former Indian cricketer turned commentator, also added his thoughts on Azam's captaincy decisions and argued that Pakistan should have been more proactive in their strategy to bowl out India much earlier and believed the Pakistan skipper missed a significant opportunity by not using his seamers properly.
"Babar Azam got his spinners to bowl 21 overs when the opposing team was 66/4. You had 30 overs of fast bowling. I think he missed a huge trick and because of that, he allowed India to prosper.
"It's good, we don't mind, but Pakistan should actually look inward and say that there was a captaincy error. The first was closed and you opened it and when you try to grab it again, it becomes slightly late," said Chopra.
Later, former Indian Pacer Irfan Pathan posted on his social media highlighting the shortage of Pakistani Pace attacks in favorable conditions.
"21 overs 133 runs from spinners without a wicket was a game changer. If India were bowling and Pakistan were 66/4 India would have kept fast bowling on as they had a liberty of 4 fast bowlers unlike Pakistan who were playing with 3. So, I thought Team India would have been more disappointed with the rain after scoring above par score on that pitch which had variable bounce," Pathan wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
Pakistan have advanced to the Super-four stage of the tournament after Saturday night draw while India will have to avoid losing against Nepal on Monday to join them in Super Four.