Comment: The captain must 'step back' to move forward.

BABAR Azam, the hero of Pakistan's batting line up, faces the biggest day of his career. Babar's cricket has been blessed by sublime touch on the field and the hand of fortune off it. All that Babar has touched has turned to gold.

His batsmanship has been peerless, to rank with the greats of Pakistan cricket, with Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul Haq, and Younus Khan - and perhaps one day Babar will surpass them all. He has taken the captaincy in his stride in all three formats. Babar may not be the best captain that Pakistan has had but he is good enough, and often in life good enough is all that we need to be.

Babar has the respect of his team-mates, and if anybody ever dared to question the wisdom of his tactical moves, Babar's rebuttal was always with the bat. With runs, and more runs; with elegance, and more elegance still.

You can see it in the awestruck way his fellows hang on each post-match word. The concept of the PCB's fan videos is ill advised, if in doubt they should look up the Hawthorne Effect, but Babar does the needful. His analysis is ordinary enough. The style is more monotone than inspirational. However, the players receive their captain's analysis like a saintly sermon.

Pakistan don't need Babar to open; this solution works for everyone... for him and for the team

Yet, today, Babar stands at a crossroads, the golden child is trapped in a gilded cage of his own construction. It is Babar who chooses to open the batting, match after match, as his form deteriorates before us. It is Babar who, unless he plays a long innings when he accelerates late, tends to put the whole innings behind the rate, piling pressure on his partners. It is Babar who is risking the success of the collective to prove a personal point.

It is a point that Babar does not need to prove. Babar is the undisputed king of Pakistan's batting, a world top five batsman. He does not need to show us he can open in a T20. None of his peers, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, and Kane Williamson, do so. Babar is Babar, the aesthetic ruler of the prime batting positions of three and four. In any case, in showing us he is finding batting conditions difficult up front in Australia he is showing us his humanity. Many great batsmen have endured the same ordeal.

Read: Babar must embrace the right mindset to achieve...

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