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DUBAI: Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq dismissed concerns about captain Babar Azam's form and found nothing wrong with opener Mohammad Rizwan's batting approach after their loss to Sri Lanka in Sunday's Asia Cup final in Dubai.

Babar, currently the second ranked Twenty20 (T20) batsman in the world behind teammate Rizwan, managed only 68 runs in six innings and his form would be a concern ahead of the 20-overs World Cup in Australia beginning next month.

"If someone looks at his batting, you'd just say he's unlucky, especially the way he's getting out," Saqlain said after their 23-run defeat by Sri Lanka.

"It's just a patch. If you look at the rankings, he's (among the) top in T20 International and in ODIs. It's just been bad luck. The way he's training and playing it's amazing.

"His work ethic is top notch."

Babar's opening partner Rizwan topscored for Pakistan with 55 off 49 balls in Sunday's final but his traditional approach to batting appeared ill-suited for the 20-overs format. "Every team and player have their own style and methods," former Test spinner Saqlain said.

Sri Lanka surprise, Kohli comeback: Five Asia Cup talking points

"It's not compulsory that you do what the rest of the world is doing ... His approach is not wrong." Saqlain also dismissed suggestions of a left-right opening combination of Fakhar Zaman with either Babar or Rizwan.

"If you keep shuffling, it sends a message that you don't trust them," he said. "You need to give them time. It's not good to shuffle a lot. It sends a wrong message."


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Aziz Ur Rahmam Sep 12, 2022 11:42am
I have been once to Dubai and that was enough for a life time Dubai has notbing to offer the tourist except shopping centers, palaces of the Ameers. There are no outstanding old architectrual buildings The summers are hot and sandy Once and for a week Dubai was enough for me
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Abdul Rehman Sep 12, 2022 06:24pm
You can’t win consistently with this approach. Besides the openers strike rate of Fakhar, Khushdil and Iftikhar are even worse. Asif’s average is just 16 and strike rate almost same as Babar and RIzwan. It’s failure of coach more than players.
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