Friday Dec 10 2021

Players ready to lay down their lives for Babar Azam: Shadab Khan

Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab Khan speaks to media. Photo: author
Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab Khan speaks to media. Photo: author

Pakistan cricket team's vice-captain Shadab Khan heaped praise on skipper Babar Azam, saying that his teammates would even "lay down their lives" for him. 

The all-rounder credited Babar Azam with inspiring the team to perform consistently. "People are ready to lay down their lives for a leader who is always there to support them," he explained. 

"The decisions he is taking point towards the fact that he is an impressive leader," noted Shadab, adding that the Pakistani captain is always there to support his teammates whenever the chips are down. 

He said due to Azam's attitude, the team gelled into one unit and every player was able to perform. 

Speaking about Pakistan cricket team's former batting and bowling consultants Matthew Hayden and Vernon Philander, Shadab praised them for enhancing the team's performance. 

"Matthew Hayden is a big name in cricket. In the limited amount of time he got to spend with us, Hayden made us [mentally] strong," he revealed. 

Shadab voiced the desire for batting and bowling coaches, saying that they were as important to a cricket team as are physiotherapists and trainers.

Speaking about the T20 World Cup in the UAE, Shadab Khan said that Pakistan may have lost in the crunch semi-final clash against Australia, however, the team learned a lot from the mega-event. 

"We got a lot of momentum from the World Cup, which made the team into a single unit," he stated. "Which is why we were able to win all the matches in the T20 and Test series in Bangladesh."

He spoke about the dressing room atmosphere, saying that the Men in Green were cricketers but also like family to one another. 

"The way family members support one another [during difficult times], we also support each other the same way," he said. "An individual never wins alone neither does he lose alone; the entire team wins or loses. That is what we try to remind ourselves each time," added the Pakistani all-rounder. 

When asked about the Pakistan cricket team's practice of planting the national flag into the ground during the nets session, Shadab said the move was Head Coach Saqlain Mushtaq's initiative. 

"The national flag reminds us that we need to play our hearts out for our country, the same country which got its independence due to countless sacrifices from our elders," he explained. 

"This practice of planting the national flag into the ground has united us all."

When asked about his Big Bash League (BBL) contract, the Pakistani cricketer said he was focusing on the national team's cricket for the time being and would take a decision on his BBL offer soon.