Babar Azam is a champion, says Matthew Hayden

Former Australian opener Mathew Hayden expressed his expectations from the Pakistan captain, Babar Azam, to make a significant impact in the crucial Super Four clash against Sri Lanka in the 2023 Asia Cup on Thursday.

During a discussion on Star Sports, Hayden was asked if he believed Babar would perform against Sri Lanka, given his recent lean patch. In response, Hayden expressed his confidence in the Pakistan skipper.

“Babar Azam is a champion. He comes back from these things time and time again because that’s what champions do. When you think about the statistical comparison at the same stage, Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam, Babar Azam is actually leading that shoot-out match,” Hayden said.

“So that’s how significant he is to the Pakistani team lineup, and I am sure that he can do it in this shoot-out against Sri Lanka. Babar is central not only because he is the captain, but he is absolutely central in terms of the talent of that batting unit,” he further added.

The former Pakistan mentor emphasized the vital role Babar plays in Pakistan’s batting lineup and highlighted how closely Pakistan’s batting fortunes are tied to Babar’s form.

“We all understand that Pakistan cricket over the years and particularly this side is very top-heavy and Babar carries the weight of that always. So when his performances aren’t quite on song, it matters,” he concluded.

Although Babar Azam showcased his brilliance with a remarkable 151-run performance against Nepal in the tournament opener, his recent outings against Bangladesh and India saw him dismissed cheaply. As a result, there’s anticipation for him to play a defining role in this high-stakes game against Sri Lanka.

With Pakistan and Sri Lanka both having 2 points after two Super 4 matches, their encounter is now a virtual semi-final – whoever wins will meet India in the final.

If the Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan match is washed out due to rain, Sri Lanka will qualify for the final as they hold a superior net run rate (-0.200) compared to Pakistan (-1.892).

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