Pakistan’s cricket captain, Babar Azam, expressed his unwavering ambition to secure victory in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in India. He made it clear that he wouldn’t settle for anything less than lifting the coveted trophy.
In response to former South African batting legend Hashim Amla, who had included Pakistan among the four likely semi-finalists in the mega event in India, Babar Azam considered this expectation too low for his team. He firmly believed that the Men in Green would emerge victorious.
Speaking at a pre-departure press conference held at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, the top-ranked ODI batsman emphasized his confidence in his team’s abilities, even though they had delivered below-par performances during the last two games of the Asia Cup 2023 in Sri Lanka.
The Pakistan cricket team was set to depart for Hyderabad, India, via Dubai on Wednesday morning for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, commencing on October 5, 2023. Before kicking off their campaign against the Netherlands, Pakistan was scheduled to play warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia.
Babar Azam stressed the importance of consistency and continuity in team selection, highlighting that it was the same team that had propelled Pakistan to the top of the ICC rankings. He expressed confidence in the decisions of Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and Team Director Mickey Arthur.
Regarding the absence of Naseem Shah, who had formed a formidable bowling partnership with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Babar acknowledged the challenge of finding a suitable replacement. Hasan Ali’s experience and skill with both the old and new ball made him the preferred choice for the team management.
Addressing concerns about the team’s middle-over bowling performances during the Asia Cup 2023, Babar Azam assured that the issue had been addressed in team meetings, and new strategies would be implemented during the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup in India.
In the context of spin bowling, Babar defended the Pakistani spinners, acknowledging that they had faced criticism but emphasizing that they were not ordinary players. He expressed full faith in their abilities.
While acknowledging the absence of Pakistani spectators in Indian stadiums, Babar Azam mentioned that he had heard all the games were sold out, promising jam-packed stadiums. He believed that Pakistani fans would make their love and support heard on social media. Babar expressed excitement about playing in India and adapting to the similar playing conditions.
Despite the unique challenges of leading Pakistan on Indian soil, Babar Azam viewed the conditions as comparable to Pakistani grounds. He had consulted former players for insights on Indian tracks and stadiums, ensuring that the team was well-prepared.
As for his personal goals in the ODI World Cup, Babar Azam, proud to lead the Men in Green on the world stage for the first time, maintained his high standards as a batsman, aiming for excellence in the tournament.
Responding to another query, Babar revealed that he had given a motivational speech to the team, emphasizing how the World Cup provided a platform for young cricketers to become heroes through their exceptional performances.
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