Babar Azam admits ‘different pressure’ in a Pakistan-India clash

By: News Desk
Published: 03:01 PM, 11 Aug, 2022
Captain Babar Azam addressing a press conference ahead of the team’s departure for Netherlands tour.
Caption: Captain Babar Azam addressing a press conference ahead of the team’s departure for Netherlands tour.
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Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam has said that pressure will be on during the Pakistan-India clash in Asia Cup 2022 as the Men In Green head to the Asia Cup where they will face their arch-rivals, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Addressing a pre-departure news conference in Lahore on Thursday as the team head to the Netherlands, Babar Azam said “We always try to play it like a normal match, but yes, there is definitely different pressure [on us].” 

The Pakistani skipper maintained “There is pressure, but we tried [to keep ourselves calm in the T20 World Cup and] not [repeat the same thing] of coming under pressure.”

Babar Azam advised players to have faith in their team, pointing out that while they always give their all on the field, the outcome is out of their control.

Babar was referring to Pakistan’s victory over India in the T20 World Cup, where he set the standard high as Pakistan defeated India for the first time ever with a 10-wicket rout in a Super 12 blockbuster in October 2021.

In their 13th attempt, Babar Azam and his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan came back to defeat the target with 13 balls remaining and give Pakistan their first victory over India in a World Cup.

In response to a question about possible changes to the squad, Babar Azam said that the members have been picked keeping the “best” interest of the team in mind.

Captain’s hilarious ‘cover drive’

Babar Azam came up with a hilarious retort to a query on whether the team’s star players should quit one format to manage their workload better. He asserted that they are not “old” yet and are fit enough to play all versions of the game.

Workload management has been a massive debate in international cricket over the last few months. Recently, Ben Stokes announced his retirement from one-day cricket to focus on the other two formats. Also, on Wednesday, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed that Trent Boult had been released from his central contract.

Babar was asked whether seniors like himself, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan would consider quitting one format of the game. The Pakistan skipper replied: “It (workload management) all depends on your fitness. We (me, Rizwan, Shaheen) haven’t thought about playing only two formats instead of three. Aapko kya lagta hai, hum budhe ho gaye hain? Fitness mein lagta hai? (Do you think we have become old? Are we not fit enough?).

Babar added: “If there is excess load, then we have to improve our fitness accordingly. The boys are strong and are working on it. Things are being looked after.”

Squad

Pakistan squad for ACC T20 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Qadir.

Schedule

·         Group A India, Pakistan and Qualifier (one of UAE, Kuwait and Hong Kong to qualify)

·         Group B – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka

·         Aug 28 – Pakistan v India, Dubai

·         Sep 2 – Pakistan v Qualifier, Sharjah

·         Sep 3-9 – Super Four Stage

·         Sep 11 – Final, Dubai