Babar Azam eyes ICC Men’s ODI World Cup glory for Pakistan

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Captain Babar Azam on Tuesday said that no less than a victory in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in India was his ambition and he was not satisfied with less than that.

Responding to the former South African batting great Hashim Amla’s comment in which he had included Pakistan among the four likely semi-finalists at the mega event in India, Babar said it was too low a expectation from the Pakistan team at the ICC ODI World Cup and the Men in Green will lift the trophy.

At a pre-departure press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium here, the ODI top-ranked batsman said he had more confidence in his team than himself, adding that he was confident the men in green would win laurels for the country despite below-par performances during the last two games of the Asia Cup 2023 in Sri Lanka.

Pakistan Cricket team was due to leave for Hyderabad (India) via Dubai in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to take part in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 which starts from October 5, 2023. Pakistan team was scheduled to play two warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia before it faces-off Netherlands to kick-start their campaign.

On the team-selection for the World Cup in India, Babar said he believed in consistency and continuity, adding that, after all, it was the same team which catapulted the team to World No. 1 ICC rankings. He said Chief Selector Inzimamul Haq and team Director Mickey Arthur had also reposed confidence in the team.

On Naseem Shah, he said Naseem Shah would be missed as he made up a formidable bowling duo with Shaheen Shah Afridi and gave Pakistan team an edge, adding it was not easy to pick his replacement. He said Hasan Ali’s experience made him an ultimate choice of the team management for the world cup, adding, Hasan had already played a world cup and was a good exponent of the old and new ball.

On the below-par bowling performances in the middle overs during the Asia Cup 2023, Babar Azam said,”The issue has been taken up during the team meetings and we will come up with new plans during the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup in India.”

About the spin bowling department, he said there had been a lot of criticism on the spinners, adding that the Pakistani spinner had had few bad days but they were not ordinary players. He said it was not easy to play for the Pakistan team and all of them had got here on the back of their performances, adding he had full faith in them.

On playing in India with minimum Pakistani spectators at the stadiums, Babar said the team would miss their presence, adding he had heard all the games were sold out and ‘we will be playing in jam-packed stadiums’. “Although our fans will not be there, I know they will make sure their love is heard on social media. I have heard that the fans in India also show their love, although I have not experienced that as of yet but I am excited to play in India as well,” Babar responded.

About playing for the first time on the Indian soil, the Pakistan Captain said the playing conditions were similar to Pakistani playgrounds, adding he had spoken to former players on the Indian tracks and stadiums and ‘we have shared knowledge on it’. He said, “Playing conditions will not make a difference for the team as we are used to such conditions.”

On his personal goals for the ODI World Cup, Babar said he was proud of leading the Men in Green at the world stage for the first time, adding that he always set high goals as batsman and the world CUP in India was not an exception.

Babar Azam, to another query, said he had given a pep talk to the team and reminded them how the World Cup provided a bigger stage to the young cricketers to become a hero overnight through their performances. (APP)