Nasser Hussain said England’s bowlers were rubbish in the later half of the rain-curtailed Day 1 of the 1st Test in Manchester, but that Babar Azam’s innings was the real gem of the day. Speaking on the Pakistan batsman’s unbeaten 69, Hussain said it is unfortunate that not enough people will celebrate the knock as a consequence of Pakistan having several disadvantages as a cricketing nation.
“Now if this was (Virat) Kohli, everyone would be talking, but as it’s Babar Azam, no one is talking. He averages 68 since 2018 & 55 in white-ball cricket. He’s young, he’s elegant & he’s got swagger. They talk about the Fab 4 (Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root), but it’s the Fab 5 & Babar is in that,” Hussain said on the Sky Sports mid-match analysis show.
“It’s a real shame & is in part a consequence of Pakistan playing away from home, playing in UAE in front of no one, Pakistan being in the shadow of Indian cricket, not going over and playing IPL and not playing against India, it’s all of that,” said Hussain.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) August 5, 2020
England enjoyed a good first session, taking two wickets and keeping the run rate down, restricting Azhar Ali’s side to 53-2 in 25 overs. However, Babar Azam and Shan Masood cut loose after the break, scoring 68 runs in 16.1 overs to wrest the initiative back.
At the end of the day, Pakistan were 139/2, with Azam having scored a fluent 69, and Masood having stuck around for a patient 46.
Hussain said James Anderson looked displeased with how things were going and that the entire English attack were ‘rubbish’ for having let Babar Azam get off the hook in the first session, when he had been looking tentative.