‘Only his cricketing skills give him fame’ – Ex-Pakistani skipper slams Shoaib Akhtar for commenting on Babar Azam’s communication skill

By Daniel S

February 22, 2023

Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar recently made a big statement about Pakistan’s current skipper Babar Azam, saying that he is not a brand in the country because he can’t speak fluent English. Akhtar questioned the character in the current Pakistan cricket team, criticizing the communication skills among the players.

You can see there’s no character in the team, nor do they know how to talk. How awkward it looks when they come to the presentation. How difficult is it to learn and speak English? Cricket is one job, and handling media is another. If you can’t speak, I am sorry, but you won’t be able to express yourself on TV,” said Akhtar on Suno News.

Hitting back at Akhtar for his statement, former Pakistani skipper Salman Butt said that the focus should be on the cricketing skills and not the communication skills. Butt stated that it’s not a defect of not being fluent in English. He further said that Babar is a brand and has been a number-one batter consistently.

“He (Babar) is a great player. And for a cricketer, only his cricketing skills give him fame. Yes, the fluency in communication and being an articulate speaker adds to your charisma. But this is not a defect. If you’re not an expert in communication, if you’re not a natural, it’s not a defect,” said Butt on his Youtube channel.

“He is a sensible person. If he doesn’t have a command on a secondary language, there is nothing bad about it. Many athletes speak in their mother tongue intentionally when they are at the top of the podium, and ask the translator to convey the message. We should feel proud that we have ownership on our language,” he further added.

‘Babar is himself a brand’ – Salman Butt

Butt further stated that Babar is one of the most relevant players. He also slammed Akhtar for saying these things from Babar on a public platform. The former Pakistani skipper added that Akhtar should have told these things to Babar in private.

“Yes, there is nothing bad in knowing another language. But Babar ko naa toh kisi draamey ka voiceover karna hai, naa hi TV pe khabrein padhni hain. (But neither does Babar have to give a voiceover for a drama series, nor does he have to read news on television). Babar is himself a brand. He’s world no.1 consistently; tell me, how many Pakistan players have done that in last 3-4 decades? The least we can do is to give him the credit he’s due. There’s no one better than him,” said Butt.

“The very fact that we are talking about him proves that he’s a brand. You only talk about the person who is relevant. He will learn with time. There are so many players in Pakistan who learnt the language when they lived abroad. I don’t know why he (Akhtar) needed to say things like that. We should support him. You don’t need to talk about these things on public platform. If you really want to see him improve, you should call him, meet him, and tell him in private,” he added.