LAHORE          -        Pakistan cricket team batting coach Younis Khan has advised T02I captain Babar Azam to be a leader and boldly take his own decisions. 

“My advice to Babar is that as a leader, do try and take your own decisions. He should not be afraid of taking his decisions and even if the decisions are incorrect, you can learn from those mistakes,” said the batting coach during an online press conference organized by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media department on Monday. 

“It can get difficult for a captain when he is receiving so much advice and also suggestions on field as well. Whether the suggestions are coming from off the field or from inside the field, it’s meant for the betterment of the team,” said Younis and added: “My simple advice to him when I discuss leadership on a one-to-one, which is based on my own experience as captain when I used to have 5-6 former captains around me, is to take decisions by himself and take the initiative in this regard.”

The batting great also expressed his desire to continue as the team’s batting coach in the future. The former Pakistan captain was appointed by the PCB as the batting mentor only for the tour of England. “If given the opportunity, I would like to continue as the batting coach of the national team,” he said. Younis also lauded wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan for his performances on the England tour so far. “Watching Rizwan was the happiest moment on tour because after a long time, we saw a wicketkeeper performing in England,” he added. 

Younis also defended ageing batsmen Mohammad Hafeez and Asad Shafiq, saying that there is no reason to drop someone just because of his age. Shafiq, 34, endured a horror Test series against England, scoring a mere 67 runs across five innings and three matches. Hafeez’ retention in the side has also been criticised as he’s set to turn 40 next month, although he shut his critics on Sunday with a brilliant 69 that went in vain. 

The batting coach said that only performances, not advancing years, should be the sole criteria for selection. “If Hafeez keeps on playing like he did yesterday or does even better, demonstrates his form and fitness, why should he be dumped? We often sideline players just on the basis of their age. The team should have a combination of juniors and seniors. But since now that we have lost, our lack of experience is being blamed. A player such as Asad Shafiq should not be cut off. We should instead try and lift our experienced players.”

Younis also claimed credit for skipper Azhar finding form in the final Test. “It is very important to show players where they are making mistakes. We spotted Azhar Ali’s weakness by watching his videos. I worked on his top hand, which is why his bat got space needed to connect. It wasn’t a massive technical change. We just worked on his hands.”