“You broke the opening pair that was famous worldwide” – Ramiz Raja blasts management for splitting Rizwan-Babar combination

In a surprising move that has left cricket fans and pundits scratching their heads, the management of the Pakistan cricket team has opted to split the widely-acclaimed opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand. Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has not minced his words in criticizing this decision, emphasizing the global fame the duo had achieved.

The Babar-Rizwan partnership had been a cornerstone of Pakistan’s T20I success, accumulating an impressive 2400 runs at an average of nearly 49. Despite their success, concerns were raised about their scoring rates, prompting the team management to explore alternative options at the top of the order.

In the first three games of the New Zealand series, Babar Azam found himself batting at No. 3, while the young Saim Ayub took on the role of Rizwan’s opening partner. The newly-formed pair got off to a promising start with a quick 33 off 14 deliveries in the opening T20I but struggled to build substantial partnerships in the subsequent two games, posting scores of 8 and 23.

Ramiz Raja, known for his candid commentary, expressed his disapproval on his YouTube channel, questioning the decision to break up the established opening pair.

“So much pressure was created to break the opening pair of Babar and Rizwan. When you bring in new players, they may perform well in leagues, but international cricket is a different beast where there is pressure, and the focus of the entire world is on you. You broke the opening pair that was famous worldwide,” Raja stated.

He further emphasized the difficulty in forming a successful opening pair, suggesting that a gradual introduction of new players would be more effective. Raja pointed out the lack of a trained pool of openers as a potential reason for the management’s decision, noting that breaking a successful partnership can have repercussions.

“Either you have a workshop of trained openers behind you who are gradually being introduced when you have no other options. It takes time to form an opening pair. So, if you have a pair, and they consistently kept you in the field during matches, what benefit did you get after breaking it?” Raja questioned.

Despite the new opening partnership’s struggle, Babar Azam has found success at No. 3, scoring three consecutive half-centuries in the series. However, these efforts have been in vain as Pakistan currently trails 0-3 in the series with two games remaining. The decision to split the formidable opening pair remains a subject of intense debate among cricket enthusiasts and experts alike.

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