Often compared with Indian captain Virat Kohli, young Pakistan batsman Babar Azam has already confessed that he watches Kohli and tries to learn as much as possible from the Indian captain. Azam has been one of the shining lights for Pakistan in the World Cup so far and his consistent run at the top of the order has been a real positive for Pakistan.
However, former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has said that the young man should now aim at kicking on after getting a start and winning games for his side.
"I would like to tell Babar Azam that when you consider Virat Kohli your idol then you should also learn to play like him. Virat has scored runs in very difficult situations. Babar should learn to take singles like Virat, learn to improvise like him," Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
Akhtar also advised Babar to increase his range of strokes and accelerate his scoring rate after reaching his 50, much in the same way the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Kane Williamson have done.
'Babar has to have more range of shots'
"If you look at players like Virat, Rohit Sharma, Kane Williamson...all these guys accelerate their scoring after reaching fifty. Babar should learn from them. He should have more range of shots," he added.
The Rawalpindi Express, however, was all praise for Haris Sohail, the young left-hander who came in and smashed a 59-ball 89 during Pakistan's convincing 49-run win over South Africa. Babar scored his half-century but they got out when he was on 69 off 80 deliveries.
"I was constantly saying that Haris Sohail should be included in the playing XI because he is a very compact player. Against South Africa, he showed how to score runs. In fact, he looked better than Babar Azam," Shoaib said.
The fast-bowler believed that dropping Shoaib Malik and replacing him with Haris Sohail was a fair call as the left-hander provided thrust to the Pakistan innings.
Asking the side to play without any pressure, Akhtar believed that the side still had a great chance of making it to the semi-finals if they play with freedom and put pressure on the opposition in the upcoming matches.
"Pakistan have a good chance of making it to the semifinals. They need to play fearless cricket without any pressure. If England lose their three matches against Australia, India and New Zealand, Pakistan can come through," said Akhtar.