‘It happens’: Babar Azam backs Shadab Khan after dropping crucial catch in NZ series

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam spoke in support of his deputy Shadab Khan after his lacklustre performance during the five-match T20I series against New Zealand.

During the final T20I of the five-match series between Pakistan and New Zealand, Shadab dropped Chapman’s catch in the 14th over when the batter was on the ground at 67 runs. 

This allowed the Kiwi player to score his maiden T20I century as it sailed the Black Caps to draw the series at an even 2-2.

“Sometimes it happens. Shadab has been going through a lean patch. But it is a quality of a good cricketer to rise from the lowest ebb. This happened before. Hopefully, Shadab will rise to the occasion and will make the best of the coming series,” the captain said after the fifth T20I.

Shadab Khan conceded 29 runs in two overs he bowled and was never in good touch with either bat or ball during the series.

“It was a decisive blow. Chapman’s wicket at that time could have given an advantage to Pakistan. But no player does it deliberately,” Babar said.

Pakistan’s all-format captain had the same feelings for opening batter Mohammad Rizwan, who in an attempt to reach his second T20 hundred did not go all out during the last few overs.

“We could have added around 15 to 20 runs during the last few overs. We had a great start and we were well on the way to score heavily during the last ten overs. We could not achieve that during that period. It is natural for a player to go under pressure once he comes close to a hundred. You cannot blame Rizwan for that. It was his batting that took Pakistan close to 200,” he said.

Babar, when asked about his decision not to introduce Iftikhar in attack against two left-handed batters, said he wanted to use his best bowling resource.

“Iftikhar was the second option. I thought one should go with the best available bowling resources and that’s what I did,” he said.

On his captaincy, Babar said he always analysed his match decisions.

“It has become my habit to analyse all decisions I take during a match. Sometimes I feel I made the right decision and when it is the other way around, I try not to repeat these,” he said.

Babar dispelled the impression that Eid Holidays made things tricky for Pakistan cricketers.

“We have every right to enjoy Eid Holidays with family. We are professional cricketers. A couple of days off does not mean we cannot put in the best of our efforts the next day,” he said.

About the forthcoming one-day series, Babar said there will be a few others joining the team for the series.

“A few others who will be here for the one-day series are already training. Hopefully, we will make the best of the coming series and will definitely want to win it,” he said.

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