Lahore: Describing Pakistan’s record against India in the World Cup as a story of the past, skipper Babar Azam on Wednesday said that his players are ready to perform at their best. ICC T20 World Cup Opener To make a victorious start against the arch-rivals that will put them on the right track to clinch the coveted title.
“I am happy and proud to be leading Pakistan in the mega event. We know its pressure and our first match [against India] is an extremely intense game; We will try to win that one and then maintain the momentum in the remaining games to win the World Cup,” Babar said while addressing a virtual press conference here on Wednesday, a day of rest at the national training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Ranked second in the ICC T20 rankings for batsmen, top ranked ODI batting rankings and seventh in Tests, the 26-year-old Babar will lead the national team for the first time in the T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates. and Oman from 17 October to 14 November.
In their blockbuster match at the mega event, Pakistan will take on arch-rivals India on October 24 in Dubai.
Responding to a question, Babar, who will celebrate his 27th birthday on October 15, the day the national team leaves for the United Arab Emirates, did not worry about Pakistan’s winless record against India in the T20 World Cup. Shown, in which the Greenshirts have lost five times against their traditional. rivals, including the final of the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup in Johannesburg.
“Yes, we do not have a good record against India in the World Cup but the past has passed, we have forgotten it and are focusing on what comes next and for that we are well prepared. I am sure our batsmen and bowlers will do their best on this day.”
Asked if Pakistan has any specific plans against India, Babar said: “It is a game of mindset and special focus”. [in the match] Against India it is on how to handle the pressure better as everything else is about cricket.
In response to the general opinion held by many critics, who were unwilling to give high status to the current Pakistan side to win the World Cup, Babar oozes confidence.
“Everyone has their own point of view but as captain I have full faith and belief that we will do our best. The most important factor for us is to focus on playing good cricket and plan on a match-to-match basis to win every match,” said Babar, who has scored 2,204 runs in 61 T20 Internationals at a very impressive average of 46.89 . Insisted.
Babar, who has surpassed his relatively more experienced competitor Indian captain Virat Kohli in the ICC rankings for T20 and ODI, made his international debut in 2015, while the Indian captain returned to the international stage in 2008.
Asked if he was satisfied with the selection of a team with many senior players like Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, Babar said Pakistan would benefit from their inclusion.
“Whoever is on the team has [good] performance at home [T20] Tournament. Pakistan will benefit from the presence of senior players in the dressing room. He has a lot of experience and we have to learn from his experience. We have seven to eight players in the team who were in the team  ICC Champions Trophy winning team,” Babar said.
Responding to the notion that Pakistan’s batting line-up revolved only around Babar and Mohammad Rizwan and what he expected from experienced Hafeez and Malik in this regard, Babar was enthusiastic about senior professionals when it really mattered.
“We will try to live up to the expectations of the nation; The way we are getting public response through the media, it urges every player to feel and shoulder the responsibility for which they are [batters] Need to stay on the wicket to focus and give 100 per cent.
“Both Malik and Hafeez are good experienced players and match winners on their day and I believe every player in our team is a match winner and we have good faith.
“Our batting line-up is very strong as seven to eight batsmen have the ability to play big innings,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that barring Babar (ranked second in T20 rankings) and Rizwan (seventh), none of the Pakistan players – batsman, bowler and all-rounder – feature in the top ten of the current ICC T20 player rankings.
We have a good pace attack with experienced bowlers like Shaheen Shah Afridi (23rd), Hasan Ali (66th) and Haris Rauf (51st) while Imad Wasim (42nd) is also effective as a spinning all-rounder. We are very capable of getting India out.”
Another spinner and vice-captain Shadab Khan is ranked 44th while slow left-arm orthodox spinner Mohammad Nawaz is at 69th.
Babar admitted that the inclusion of former South African Test cricketer Vernon Philander as the bowling consultant of the Pakistan team helped bowlers learn from his experience.
Published in Dawn, October 14, 2021