Time for Azam to Catch a Break?

Time for Azam to Catch a Break?

“Wicketkeeper of the tournament” in PSL just two months ago, now an absolute disaster behind the stumps in Pakistan colours. Shocking? But with his fitness, not really. We all know how destructive Azam Khan can be with the bat, but failing to replicate that form at the international stage coupled with poor wicket-keeping performance has landed him in hot waters.

Three dropped catches, one missed stumping, and a few fumbles in just the last FIVE games — that’s the kind of wicketkeeping Azam Khan’s been dishing out lately. It doesn’t matter how many runs he scores; in crunch moments, this kind of sloppiness can cost Pakistan dearly. And given our history of high-profile drops in World Cups (remember Hassan Ali and Rahat Ali against Australia?), putting Azam behind the stumps in such a tournament might just be asking for trouble.

Azam Khan’s PSL 9 performance was “impactful”: one fifty, a strike rate of 172nine catches, and the best keeper award. Coupled with his successful Caribbean Premier League experience, it seemed like a no-brainer to include him in the World Cup squad, especially considering Pakistan’s limited lower middle-order options. However, his recent performances have raised serious doubts.

To accommodate Azam Khan, Pakistan relegated their best keeper of recent years to the boundary. It was a questionable decision, and the consequences have become painfully clear. But now that Rizwan has reclaimed his opening spot, it might only be a matter of time before he takes back the gloves as well. Perhaps the international stage is still too demanding for Azam Khan. Unless he improves his fitness and keeping skills, this “impact” player might have to wait for ICC to introduce the “impact player” rule at the international level, allowing him to contribute solely as a batsman.

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