Pakistan Cricket captain Babar Azam is optimistic about his team’s chances in the upcoming International T20 Cup. Given the conditions, Pakistan are being deemed as one of the favourites for the tournament. Babar, who will make his maiden International T20 Cup appearance, said the team has prepared well for the showpiece event and are capable to outclass every opposition in the tournament.
“Your belief and confidence as a group matter a lot before a tournament,” Babar said at the pre-departure press conference . “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.”
Over the years, Pakistan have used UAE as their home venue and the players are well used to the conditions. They’ll open their campaign against India at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24. Pakistan does not have a record to boast about against India in the International Cups, having lost all their 12 battles. However, their record in Dubai will give them a lot of confidence. The Men in Green have played six T20Is in Dubai since 2016 and are yet to taste defeat. Babar said he is confident that Pakistan can end the losing streak against India.
“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.”
Pakistan have a good blend of youth and experience in their team. They have a few exciting youngsters, while experienced campaigners like Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez as well. Azam said the players come into the International T20 Cup with decent domestic performances and are high on confidence. He added the presence of senior players will add value for the side.
“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 International Cup and leagues before. 7-8 players in our squad have also played the International Trophy before which brings out different confidence.”
Ahead of the mega event, Pakistan coach Misbah ul Haq and Waqar Younis stepped down from their posts after which the PCB roped in Matthew Hayden and Vernon Philander as batting and bowling coaches respectively.
Talking about the new appointments, Babar said, “Hayden and Philander bring a lot of experience. Our attempt will be to learn from them as much as we can and quickly,” said Azam. “The boys have the ability to absorb quickly and mix with them.
“You can see Philander has already started working hard with the bowlers and you can see the past record, bowlers win you the tournament. Hasan Ali was our best bowler in the Champions Trophy. He will take the bowling line-up alongside him.”