Gambhir called Babar's captaincy "extremely ordinary" and pointed out specific flaws in his field placements

Former Indian cricketer, Gautam Gambhir, did not mince words when expressing his disappointment with Pakistan skipper Babar Azam‘s leadership during the 2023 Asia Cup. Rain affected the Super Four clash against Sri Lanka and confirmed Pakistan’s exit from the tournament. Dasun Shanaka’s team emerged victorious and earned a spot in the final against India.

“For me, too, quite ordinary captaincy. Zaman Khan’s over had a four-hit over mid-off, and Shaheen Shah Afridi‘s over also had a four-hit over mid-off, both off slower deliveries,” Gautam Gambhir said Star Sports.

The former Indian cricketer emphasized that Azam’s decision-making regarding field placements was questionable, especially in a must-win game. Gambhir urged Azam to recognize that searching for wickets in the final few overs may not always be necessary.

“Keep the mid-off fielder at long-off and bring the third man up if you wish to bowl slower balls. This is really basic captaincy. It would have been challenging for Sri Lanka if there had been 13 runs left in the final over,” the 41-year-old added.

Furthermore, Gambhir criticized Azam’s captaincy during Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama’s 100-run partnership. He asserted that a different approach was needed in ODI cricket compared to T20 cricket.

“At one point, you were allowing the game to lag. You aimed to complete the requirements from your sixth bowler. That’s not how things turn out. You need to have brought on your key bowlers and attempted to get wickets when Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama started to play together,” he continued.

“Only by taking wickets could Pakistan have won this game. Sri Lanka could have won earlier than they did if they had continued to bat all the way through. ODI cricket is different from T20 cricket. Babar Azam will need to be a little bit better in his captaincy,” he concluded.