Lahore, Pakistan – The excitement is building as Pakistan’s national cricket team prepares to embark on their journey to India for the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023. In a pre-departure press conference held in Lahore on Tuesday, Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, expressed the team’s high spirits and determination to bring the coveted World Cup trophy home.
“Our team’s morale is at its peak, and we are brimming with confidence. We are committed to giving our best on the field. I kindly request everyone to keep us in their prayers and support us,” Babar Azam addressed the media.
Despite their recent disappointment in the Asia Cup, where Pakistan finished in fourth place and saw their ICC ODI ranking slip to second, Babar Azam viewed this setback as a valuable learning experience for the team.
“While we couldn’t meet our expectations in the Asia Cup, it taught us valuable lessons. We don’t just identify our mistakes; we also focus on how to rectify them,” the captain emphasized.
Regarding the upcoming World Cup, Babar Azam acknowledged the differences in conditions compared to the Asia Cup and emphasized the importance of adapting to the playing environment.
“The playing conditions in India are distinct from those in the Asia Cup. We will carefully assess the conditions and plan our strategies accordingly to ensure the best outcome for Pakistan,” he noted.
Addressing concerns about the team’s performance, particularly in the middle overs bowling, Babar Azam expressed his trust in his players and their ability to overcome challenges.
“I have spoken with Shadab Khan, and we have bolstered each other’s confidence. While we recognize our shortcomings in the middle overs bowling, I have immense trust in my team,” Babar Azam affirmed.
Despite questions about Hasan Ali’s inclusion in the squad due to Naseem Shah’s injury, the captain highlighted the importance of experience and continuity within the team.
“We have a core group of players who have been together since 2019. Stability is essential, and I believe in supporting players even during tough times,” Babar Azam remarked, expressing the team’s regret at Naseem Shah’s absence.
For Babar Azam, this World Cup holds personal significance as he will be playing in India for the first time in his career. He expressed excitement about competing in Ahmedabad, home to the world’s largest cricket stadium, and downplayed concerns about the playing conditions.
“I am thrilled to play in Ahmedabad, especially in a high-voltage match against India. I’ve consulted with former cricketers who have assured me that the conditions are manageable,” he shared.
Addressing rumors of a rift with fellow player Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam categorically dismissed any such discord within the team.
“We consider each other as family. Disagreements may arise, especially after close losses, but there is no feud between Shaheen Afridi and me. We respect each other like brothers,” Babar Azam clarified, quashing speculation about internal conflicts.
As Pakistan’s cricket team sets off for India, they carry not only the hopes of their nation but also a renewed sense of determination and unity under the leadership of Babar Azam. Cricket fans around the world eagerly anticipate the thrilling matches and unforgettable moments that the ICC World Cup 2023 promises to deliver.