LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM T20
By: Shanzey Amir Khan
The news of Babar Azam becoming the Captain of the team, initially, left us all in shock. Were we supposed to be happy that the lion of the team, was being given the captaincy? Or should we be frustrated about him taking a responsibility which initially belonged to Sarfaraz, the Champions Trophy winning captain? Shortly after this news, the most-awaited tours of New Zealand and England coming to Pakistan were cancelled, due to ‘security issues’. Indeed, the surrounding events of the T20 World Cup were not as perfect as we wanted them to be, however, this did not limit us Pakistanis from enjoying the sport, and our passion remained consistent throughout.
It is unreasonable to say that we Pakistanis fear losing, the amount of times we have been defeated inside the stadium, especially against India, is countless. The unstoppable passion which we Pakistanis have for cricket is insane. The same passion which led to us winning five consecutive matches, including the massive victory against our arch-rival, India. But this World Cup was different. The team was different. Most importantly, the captain was different. The pressure on the team was undoubtedly immense, but the way our Captain, Babar, and our opener, Rizwan, portrayed their performances on the field, it surely left us all in awe.
Similar to the great victory against India, we won five consecutive matches, and became the only undefeated team to enter the semifinals. Throughout the practices, there were some on and off field moments, which truly inspired the team to be proud of their identity. This was evident when the decision of hoisting the Pakistani flag was announced under Babar’s leadership, amidst the practices, making the team realize the importance of representing the entire nation whole-heartedly. Sarfaraz Ahmed, our former Captain was also seen assisting the team throughout. This beautifully highlights how his fondness of the sport and his patriotism encouraged him to serve his team, even if the role sparked controversy for the rest of the world.
The way Babar led the men in green, throughout the tournament, was a great example for all the citizens. His tactics on the field, his decisions upon winning the toss, his ability to move forward as a team, all of it led to us reaching the semifinals. Various videos were surfacing on social media in which Babar was seen giving motivational speeches to the entire team. After the victories, Babar made sure that the team remained humble, and after defeat, the team held their heads high. The entire nation was extremely proud of their performance. We could not have been any luckier to have witnessed a competition so great, provided by our very own cricket team.
It is not just about Babar’s skills as a batsman and his amazingly-portrayed role as the Captain, but also Professor’s tactics, Shadab’s perfect fielding, Rizwan’s heroic performance in the semifinals, Shaheen’s wickets, Asif’s unstoppable sixes, and Malik’s flexibility, all of which led to us taking the victory in five consecutive matches. The men in green could not win the World Cup, but they surely won our hearts!