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Is Pakistan doing away with Babar as an opener experiment?

Hafeez as opener in T20Is is a regressive step

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It made a lot of sense unlike many decisions taken in Pakistan Cricket. Babar Azam opening with Fakhar Zaman gave their two best batsmen an opportunity to face most number of balls. Babar had a fantastic run as well averaging 82. Just without the numbers, it did look like that this pair of destructive Zaman and artistry of Babar would work.

But then Babar got injured against England and he missed the Tri series held in Zimbabwe. Pakistan went in with 3 different openers the prolific Zaman in 5 matches. Hafeez started poorly so he was replaced by Harris Sohail. A couple of failures, gave way to Sahibzada Farhan, but he couldn’t get going.

Now, it seems that Mohammad Hafeez will be back in the side as an opener, with Babar potentially dropping to 4, if Hussain Talat continues to bat at 3. Unless Fakhar goes deep into the innings, Pakistan would be playing with rotators with Babar, Talat, Sarfraz, Shadab and one could include Imad. Aside of Asif, there is no one who can clear the boundary at will. There is a shortage of such batsmen given that Shoaib Malik will not be playing.

However, going back to Hafeez as an opener is like taking two steps back. Pakistan’s two best batsmen should be given the opportunity to face most balls. Especially Hafeez doesn’t bowl much, his presence in the team raises questions. A format in which Pakistan defeated Australia and New Zealand with relative ease, doesn’t need backward steps. It’s the ODI team which required the two in one (or as some way half and half) player like Hafeez. For T20s, this side needs power hitters.

the authorAsjad Khan