Pakistan tour of Australia: ‘Babar, Babar’ chants in Canberra as former captain bowls in warm-up match


Former captain Babar Azam is still the crowd favourite and it was evident during the tour game between Pakistan and the Australian Prime Minister’s XI at Canberra. Babar stepped down as captain across all formats after a disappointing World Cup 2023 campaign in India but he received a rousing reception upon his arrival with fans cueing up to take his autographs during the training session.

The Pakistan fans at the Manuka Oval cheered for Babar Azam on Thursday when the former captain came out to roll his arm over in a surprise move. Toward the end of the day’s play, captain Shan Masood gave the ball to Babar, who impressed quite a few with his off-spin.

“Babar, Babar” chants were heard at the Manuka Oval when the former captain got the ball to turn a bit, keeping Cameron Green and Matt Renshaw quiet in the middle. The top batter, who has 7 first-class wickets, got only one over before Prime Minister’s XI went to Stumps at 149 for 2, still trailing Pakistan by 242 runs.

Wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who played ahead of Mohammad Rizwan, was cheering for Babar with loud chants, especially when he got one turn sharply into Green and forced Renshaw to leave a straighter one outside the left-hander’s off-stump.

However, Shan Masood’s solid batting show in his first outing as Pakistan’s Test captain has been the highlight of the first two days of the tour game.

Masood, who took over the captaincy after Babar Azam stepped down following the ICC World Cup, showcased his prowess with the bat by scoring an impressive double century. Resuming from an overnight score of 156, Masood added 45 more runs to his tally, reaching an unbeaten 201 off 298 deliveries, which included 14 boundaries and a six. This marked his first double hundred as Pakistan’s Test captain and his third in first-class cricket.

All eyes were then on Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Haris as the two players are in contention for a spot in the Test squad for the upcoming series. However, both batsmen failed to convert their starts into significant scores, with Bancroft making 53 and Harris falling just short of a half-century at 49.

Despite the openers’ inability to capitalise fully on their starts, the PM’s XI found some stability through patient knocks from Cameron Green and Matt Renshaw. They navigated the slow pitch and the declining light conditions, leaving them well-positioned to build on their innings when play resumed. At stumps on Day 2, the PM’s XI had reached 149 for 2 in 60 overs, with Renshaw and Green at the crease, not out on 18 and 19 respectively.

Published By:

Akshay Ramesh

Published On:

Dec 7, 2023


Mohd Aman

Editor in Chief Approved by Indian Government

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