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Babar Azam

Hayden backs Babar to produce 'something very special' in the semis

Pakistan team mentor Matthew Hayden has backed Pakistan skipper Babar Azam to be back to his best in the semi-final clash against New Zealand in Sydney.

Babar has so far endured a lean run at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, aggregating only 39 runs in five matches. The poor run of form has been something of an anomaly for the Pakistan captain, who has been a beacon of consistency for his side at the top of the order over the past couple of years. 

Babar was spotted in the nets ahead of Pakistan's clash against New Zealand in Sydney, with Hayden providing words of encouragement. Quipped about what advice he had for Babar in the nets and around concerns about his form, Hayden was bullish that it was only a matter of time before Babar regained his touch. 

Hayden stated, "We all know that in any given career, you have significant moments of ups and downs. And the challenges and the humps along the way, they cement you and your greatness, how you achieve under adversity. There's no question that Babar has been under some adversity. That will make him not only an even greater player." 

Video Match Highlights 06 Nov 22
Pakistan hold off Bangladesh to seal semi-final spot | Match Highlights | T20WC 2022
Match Highlights: Paksitan held off Bangladesh by five wickets to seal their spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.

Hayden though backed the Pakistan skipper to snap out of his lull quickly and produce a 'special' performance soon enough.

"There's lots of people that talk, but those of us that have been in the changing rooms with Babar and realise that cricket, when it's all said and done, is a very difficult game. You can't continue to keep on punching out hundreds and 50s and strike rates of 140-plus. There's got to be moments in time where there's a lull," the former Australia opener added. 

"And as we all know about the weather, once there's a lull, there's often a storm that follows. So look out, rest of the world, because I think you're about to see something very special from Babar," Hayden concluded. 

Pakistan have endured a roller-coaster campaign so far, losing games against India and Zimbabwe before winning three on the trot against Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh to reach the semis. They will face a stiff challenge against New Zealand, who have impressed so far in the Super 12. 

Video T20 World Cup 08 Nov 22
A Super Sunday full of joy for Pakistan | T20WC 2022
Pakistan secured a semi-final spot in an incredible final day of the Super 12 stage at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022

Hayden was full of praise for Pakistan's opponents in Sydney, especially their bowling unit, stating, "They've also got a terrific bowling attack, a well-balanced bowling attack. Good mixture of experience. I even played against Tim Southee, that goes to show you how much experience that team has got.

"I think like New Zealand sport, in general, they really punch above their weight. They believe they can win this tournament and they've got the potential to do that. So lots of threats to our camp, no question." 

The two sides will lock horns at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday, November 9, with a potential clash against England or India awaiting in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13. 


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