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Babar Azam (Photo: ICC)
Babar Azam (Photo: ICC)

Sanjay Bangar advises Pakistan to replace Babar with Haris as opener against NZ

ANI | Updated: Nov 09, 2022 13:18 IST


New Delhi [India], November 9 (ANI): Sanjay Bangar suggested Pakistan to push Babar Azam down to number three and replace the captain with Mohammad Haris against New Zealand ahead of the semi-final clash.
"It's clearly been a rough time for the opening batsmen in this tournament because of the kind of conditions that have been on display and that's the reason why you haven't seen a lot of teams up top scoring a lot of runs. Even in the first 6 overs, the scores have been pretty average, a pretty conservative start," former Team India batting coach Sanjay Bangar said while speaking exclusively on Star Sports show Game Plan.
It will be a cracking contest at the SCG on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, as New Zealand and Pakistan will give it their best shot in the first semi-final of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.
Pakistan have a few chinks to address in its armour. Skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are the team's number one opening pair, but their below-par showing has prompted experts to ask the team management to push the captain down the batting order.
"So, from that perspective, whether Pakistan continues with the same batting combination at the top of the order that they've persisted, but now, having Mohammad Haris coming in there and playing with that sort of freedom. In the last game, they were a bit confused about whom to send and at that time, Harris was sent down the order because Nawaz was promoted up the order. So, in a game like this, I would say that it would be good if Pakistan makes that switch. Push Harris at the top with Rizwan. Babar Azam bats at three so that he can do a similar role which Williamson does for New Zealand," explained Bangar.

Babar has managed just 39 runs in his five innings in the T20 World Cup thus far. Haris, on the other hand, has clobbered 59 runs in just two innings, that too at a strike rate of 203.44.
Bangar also explained that Pakistan designated No. 3 batsman Shan Masood can be the floater.
"Shan Masood can be the floater because you saw David Malan in England. He is the floater. He can bat if the wicket falls early up top. He can arrest the slide and then you have some very good players like Ifthikhar and Shadab, who can follow soon and that actually lengthens the batting line-up also a bit. So, if Pakistan are willing to make those changes, I clearly feel that they can optimize their resources really well," he said.
Elaborating further on whether the first semi-final will be the battle of spinners, Sanjay Bangar said, "If you see man for man, who are the better spinners in this tournament, I would say New Zealand are the better spinners because they have Santner and Ish Sodi, who have actually adapted to the dimensions really well."
"Both these spinners, unlike the other spinners from other teams have bowled to a particular plan. They've been bowling to those wider lines which have made them very effective on these kinds of surfaces and dimensions. So, I would say it's an advantage for New Zealand spinners at the moment because apart from Shadab, the other spinner Nawaz or Ifthikhar, they haven't made inroads for Pakistan," stated Bangar.
Talking about New Zealand's weakness, he said, "There is a weakness. We have seen the way Kane Williamson started this tournament. His strike rate was not up to the mark, but he eventually played an innings of 61, although it was against a lesser-known team, but it was a must-win game for them. For me, how Finn Allen starts at the top is going to be critical because Conway can bat in a particular fashion. He knows what he can do to the side and even the opponents know what he can bring to the table." (ANI)

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