Pakistan will face England in their final pool match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 against England on Saturday.
While speaking in the pre-match presser, Pakistan captain Babar Azam expressed confidence in his team’s ability to secure a victory and emphasized the importance of a strategic approach.
“We have planned regarding net run-rate against England. However, we cannot start blind slogging from ball one. We have planned how to play the first 10 overs and what to do after that. If Fakhar Zaman plays for 20-30 overs, we can achieve what’s required,” Babar said.
Addressing concerns about Pakistan’s potential exit from World Cup 2023, Babar stated that cricket is an unpredictable game, and no one is certain about what is going to happen next.
“You never know what’ll happen next; we have a match left,” Babar said.
Pakistan skipper dismissed notions of feeling the weight of captaincy on his shoulders, asserting that he has not succumbed to pressure during his three-year tenure as captain.
“I have been a captain of Pakistan for the last three years. I never felt the pressure of captaincy. There is no pressure of captaincy on me. People are talking about my captaincy, but I have not given below-average performance in the World Cup,” he further added.
The 29-year-old also expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support received from fans in India and addressed criticism regarding his strike rate, clarifying that his primary focus has always been on playing for the team.
“Pakistan received a lot of love and support in India. I never had a target to score my fifties. Many people criticized that I played with a slow strike rate, but the situation matters to me. I always played for the team,” Babar asserted.
Reflecting on the team’s overall performance in the tournament, Babar stated that the failure to execute their overall plan, rather than specific elements like bowling or batting, has been the primary factor behind their shortcomings.
“You cannot blame bowling or batting. We failed to execute our overall plan. There is a very small margin of error in the World Cup. We aim to learn from our mistakes in this World Cup,” he further said.
Moreover, Babar addressed ongoing speculations about his captaincy, emphasizing that discussions regarding his leadership role will only take place once the World Cup concludes.
“PCB will discuss my captaincy once the World Cup ends and we go back to Pakistan because, for now, I am only focused on the remaining league match in this World Cup,” he said.
Lastly, Babar debunked the notion that Pakistan has consistently underperformed in World Cups since 1999, highlighting the team’s success in winning the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy.
“This is a wrong call that Pakistan has been poor in World Cups since 1999. We won the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy. Pakistan is playing good cricket but only failing to finish in World Cups,” he concluded.