Shoaib Akhtar, the legendary Pakistan pacer, has slammed national team captain Babar Azam for his poor communication skills, citing this as a major reason why the star batsman isn't a big brand.
Still holding the record as the fastest bowler in the world, Akhtar said that playing cricket is one thing and handling media is another, and if Babar can’t speak, he won’t be able to express himself.
In an interview with a local Pakistani channel, Akhtar said, "Abhi aap dekh le, koi character nahi team mein. Naa koi baat karne ka tarika. (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. Kitna mushkil hai English seekhna aur baat krna? (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."
Akhtar further went on to say that, till now, it is only himself, Sahid Afridi and Wasim Akram that bag major endorsements because of their communication skills.
"Is there any other cricketer who can speak well? Why do only I, Shahid Afridi, and Wasim Akram get all the advertisements? The reason is that we take it as a job."
Babar has been criticised previously for his lack of presence in front of the camera and ability to deal with the media.
During a press conference in 2020, he was asked about his English language skills, to which he responded that he was working on improving his communication skills.
"I’m a cricketer; my job is to play cricket. I am not a 'gora' who knows English thoroughly. Yes, I am working on it, but you learn these things over a period of time; you can’t just suddenly learn it," Babar had said.
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