Pakistan may have had a tumultuous Asia Cup campaignas they finished last in the Super Four round, but Babar Azam wanted to remind everyone that they were the highest-ranked ODI team in the world afew days earlier. And while Pakistan missed out on asemi-final spot in the last ODI World Cup, Babar remains adamant that this time hisaimisnot just to reach the top four but togo further.
“The top four doesn’tmeanmuchtous,” he said inhis press conferencebeforekick-off.“We want to win. We didn’t have enough time to organize a camp before the World Cup because we playedcontinuously for solong.Instead, we give the players a break so they can come back refreshed and hungry. to win. You play well when you wantit.
“Before the last two matchesof the Asian Cup, we playedvery well on the same field. Although we couldnotdevelopourfullpotential, we learned lessons from miscalculations our own, as individuals and as a team.Wewereeliminated. all our miscalculations ofbeingleftbehindby the support team.TheAsian Cup is a different event, the World Cup is completelycompletelydifferent.
Hasan Ali replaced injured Naseem Shah in Pakistan’s World Cup squad
As we head for the World Cup, we seek prayers of all the Pakistan cricket team fans and well-wishers. I am certain that you will continue to extend your support and love, which you have always done.— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) September 27, 2023
Pakistan Zindabad 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/ZiMJIfCBfd
The outcomeof the event wasrife with turmoil on and offthe field for Pakistan. A team that wasafavorite just afew weeks ago has beentoyingwithproblemsthathavesuddenlybegun to getserious.Thecrushing defeat to India in the Asia Cup, followed by injuries to Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, ruled NaseemShahandHarisRauf out of the World Cup. Shadab Khan’s declinein form also forced Pakistan to strengthen their ranks by retaining Usama Mir insteadof Faheem Ashraf.
Additionally,off-fieldissues also occur in the background. Pakistan was forced to cancel its training camp and ties in Dubai aheadof the World Cup as visas for India werefinalizedonlyon Monday, less than 48 hours before the teamleft for the ‘event’. To bounceback, the players and the PCB remain in a deadlock, now in its fourth month, over the signing of new central contracts.
“We try tobehip to block out the noise and play veryfocused,” Babar said.“I’mtrying to make sure that the noise doesn’t reach the plane and I’mdealingwithanyproblemsthatmightoccur outside the locker room. Wehavethe visas now so we’re ready to go. As for the contract,that’swhattheyare.”is still inthenegotiationprocess but we hopetoachieve good resultsbecause I thinkCPC always puts our interests first..
“Therewas no malice in the locker room. There are conversations after every loss, but they arecommodifiedcompletely differently (in the media). The wholepeloton is like a family and thereis love and respect.”
“Iamlookingforward to playing in Ahmedabad as itwill be crowded.Iwill try my best to maximize my potential.”
The clash betweenPakistanandIndia on October 14 in Ahmedabad remains themaintopicofdiscussion.Indeed, the professionally trained Babar could not hide his excitement at the prospect of playing in front of a potentially record crowd in Ahmedabad. Althoughheemphasizedthroughout much of the press conference that this World Cup is about the entire competition and not just ashowmatch, he couldn’t help butdraw attention to the actualmatchthatprecededhe tried to play it down when asked about his specificexpectations..“Iamlookingforward to playing in Ahmedabad as itwill be verycrowded,”saidBabar.“Iwill try my best to reach my fullpotential. Whenever youparticipatein a big event, it’s a reallyexciting occasion. “It’sanopportunity to becomeanidol,becausebecause every performanceatthe World Cup WorldCup gives you a different level of confidence. . Everyone has their ownstyle during the World Cup, so everytime you perform there, it’s acompletely different feeling. Performancecomes when you don’t.under pressure.”
But Babar wastednotimeincontrollinghimself.“I’m not sad about my individual awards,” he said, turning back to that familiar watch.“I want to make sure thateverything I do contributesto the outcomeof the race.”
And with that, he was outthedoor, to be seen next in India, hisvirginalhome,where all but two of his platoonmateswerehangingout. Pakistan hadverballyexpressedthattheydid not want to play in Ahmedabad a few weeks ago, but thatspeaksvolumes about theintentionsof their captain,who is now adamant that he wants to lead his platoon doublehereattheColosseum.
Suit up!🕺 pic.twitter.com/7L9jHlj7I6— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) September 21, 2023
|players in the Pakistan cricket team for the 2023 World Cup|
|Babar Azam (captain)|
|Shaheen Shah Afridi|