Throughout Pakistan’s T20 World Cup campaign, Babar Azam has faced harsh criticism for both his leadership and batting problems. After losing their first two games against India and Zimbabwe, Pakistan bounced back to defeat the Netherlands and South Africa in back-to-back victories. Veterans and analysts have urged Babar to resign as captain after the World Cup due to his dismal performance with the bat. With his infamous “holy cow” comment, Pakistani icon Mohammad Hafeez has drawn criticism from certain quarters. However, in an unexpected change of events, Hafeez has now defended Babar’s batting and leadership.

After the team’s five-wicket loss to India in Melbourne earlier in the season, Hafeez had said to Pakistan’s television channel, “The leadership of Babar Azam is inviolable, like a holy cow. We are seeing Babar’s leadership shortcomings for the third straight important game, but we are told that by the time he is 32 years old, he will catch on. Why didn’t Babar complete the required number of spin overs in the 7th through 11th overs of today’s game, when India was failing to score even 4 runs per over?”

The veteran’s statement against Babar during Pakistan’s World Cup campaign was one of many that he made. On the other hand, on Saturday, when Hafeez was asked to comment on Babar’s performance and captaincy, he chose to strike out at the detractors instead of pleading with the team’s leadership to back the star batter.