Pakistan Skipper Babar Azam will be playing as the captain of his team for the first time in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and is pretty spirited regarding their first T20 World Cup clash, which set against their arch-rivals India. Azam, who has captained his national side in 28 international games so far, out of which the team has won 15, said that he firmly believes they will outclass India.
“I am very happy and proud to go to the T20 World Cup as a captain,” he said at Pakistan’s pre-departure press conference.
“We know the pressure and the high intensity of each game, especially the first one. Hopefully, we can win the match and carry the momentum forward.”
Pakistan will begin their T20 World Cup campaign by squaring off against India on October 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Statistically speaking, India holds an edge over their rivals in World Cups with complete dominance of 12-0. They have won seven of the 50-over World Cups while five of the T20 WC. While their T20 WC match in 2007 ended up in a tie, India emerged victorious in their encounters till 2016.
“Your belief and confidence as a group matter a lot before a tournament,” he said. “As a team, our confidence and morale are really high. We are not thinking of the past but the future. We are preparing for that. I am fully confident that we are well prepared and will play good cricket on the day.”
The UAE soil has proven to be quite favourable for Pakistan. They have an unbeaten record in Dubai, the venue for the clash, having recorded six T20Is wins in UAE. No wonder he backs his claims based on this number.
“We’ve been playing cricket in UAE for the past 3-4 years and we know the conditions really well,” said Azam. “We know how the wicket will behave and the adjustments batters will have to make. On the day who plays the better cricket, wins the match. If you ask me, we will win.”
The side is equipped with young and prolific players while also having a fair share of the experience of senior players in their 15-member squad. Babar Azam believes this mix of players in their bag is the key factor behind their robust squad.
“All the players have entered the side after a good domestic performance. We have a lot to learn from the senior players in the side because they have so much experience, they have played the World Cup and leagues before. 7-8 players in our squad have also played the Champions Trophy before which brings out different confidence.”
Pakistan will play their warm-up matches against West Indies on 18 October and South Africa on 20 October in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.
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