Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, in a press conference on Tuesday, said that the Men in Green were determined and confident ahead of their departure to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and that they have fixed their goal of winning the title.
“As a team, our morale is very high, we have confidence. We will try to play our best. I request all of you to pray for the team,” the skipper said during a pre-departure press conference in Lahore.
The national team could not perform well in the Asia Cup 2023, but the skipper said that this setback helped them learn.
“We could not deliver up to the mark, but we learned from it. We just don’t point out our errors, but we also talk about how to improve those sides,” the captain noted.
Babar also mentioned that there would be a completely different plan for the upcoming mega event.
“The conditions are different from the Asia Cup. We will monitor the conditions, and whatever is best for Pakistan, we will go into the match with that planning,” the star batter noted.
“I trust my players more than I trust myself”
The cricket pundits revealed that the Men in Green needed some improvements in the middle-over bowling.
“I spoke to Shadab Khan and we gave confidence to each other. I and Shadab know that we aren’t bowling well in the middle overs, but I trust my players more than I trust myself,” he said.
The 28-year-old skipper also mentioned that the same team, that was picked for the World Cup, made Pakistan the number 1 ODI team in the world.
While talking about Hasan Ali replacing injured Naseem Shah, Babar said that Ali was chosen due to his experience.
He further mentioned that apart from Ali, seven to nine other players in the squad were those who have been playing together since 2019. He said that he wanted to keep those who he trusted more.
“I make very few changes; when we are together, we produce good results. A player should be supported when he is not doing well,” he said, noting that the team would miss Shah.
This will be Babar’s first experience in India in his 8-year illustrious career. However, he said that he is fully confident about playing on Indian soil.
Mohammad Namwaz and Salam Ali Agha are the only two players in the squad, who have played in India before.
“I’m very excited to play in Ahmedabad. It is the biggest stadium in the world and will be jam-packed for the India-Pakistan clash,” he said.
“I have spoken to former cricketers about the condition and they are not that different,” he said.
“I will try to perform to the best of my ability. I can’t exactly tell you how I will do since I’m not an astrologer.”
“I’m not worried about my performance. I always try to perform in a manner that suits the team,” he added.
Differences with the team?
During the press conference, Babar was asked about the rumors about differences within the team.
“Since when you became captain, the team has given you respect and everyone honors you a lot, even Iftikhar Ahmed considers you elder brother,” a journalist asked Babar. “There were reports regarding Shaheen Afridi after the Asia Cup debacle so the fans want to know how good your bonding is with Shaheen Afridi and how much he respects you?”
In response, Babar said: “Everyone gives me respect…. and see when you lose close matches then certain [diagreements] do take place in team meetings but this was taken out of context that there was a duel between us.”
“There’s nothing like this. We have the same respect for each other and will remain the same. We love each other like a family.”