Pakistan will face England in the final pool match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 on Saturday in Kolkata.
The Men in Green are ranked fifth in the World Cup 2023 points table with eight points and a net percentage of +0.036 and to reach the semi-final round of the big game, they will need to beat England by around 287 runs while batting first or about 284 balls to dodge while chasing the target.
Speaking to the Ambassador ahead of the match, Pakistan captain Babar Azam expressed confidence in his side’s ability to secure a win and stressed the importance of a strategic approach.
“We have planned about the clean run against England. However, we cannot start blind slogging from the first ball. We have planned how we will play the first 10 overs and what we will do after that. If Fakhar Zaman bowls for 20 -30 overs, we can achieve what is required,” said Babar.
Addressing concerns over Pakistan’s possible exit from the 2023 World Cup, Babar said cricket is an unpredictable game and no one is sure what is going to happen next.
“You never know what’s going to happen next, we’ve got a match,” Babar said.
The Pakistan skipper dismissed the idea that he feels the weight of captaincy on his shoulders, claiming he has not bowed to pressure during his three-year stint as captain.
“I haven’t played as well as I should have in the World Cup, that’s why they say I’m under pressure. I’m not under pressure,” the 29-year-old insisted.
“Everyone has their own point of view, their own way of thinking. Everyone says something different. It should be this way, or this way.
“If somebody needs to give me advice, everybody has my number. It’s easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me advice, you can text me.”
The 29-year-old also expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support he received from fans in India and criticized his strike rate, clarifying that his main focus has always been to play for the team.
“Pakistan got a lot of love and support in India. I never aimed to score my fifty. Many people criticized me for playing at a slow pace, but the situation matters to me. I have always played for the team,” Babar claimed.
Reflecting on the team’s overall performance in the tournament, Babar stated that the failure to execute their overall plan, rather than specific elements such as bowling or batting, was the primary factor behind their weaknesses.
“You can’t blame the bowling or the batting. We failed to execute our overall plan. There is very little margin for error in the World Cup. Our aim is to learn from our mistakes in this World Cup,” he further said.
In addition, Babar addressed the ongoing speculation about his captaincy, stressing that discussions about his leadership role will only take place once the World Cup is over.
“The PCB will discuss my captaincy once the World Cup is over and we return to Pakistan because, for now, I am only focused on the remaining league match in this World Cup,” he said.
Finally, Babar dispelled 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.
“It is wrong that Pakistan has been poor in World Cups since 1999. We have won the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy. Pakistan is playing good cricket but they are failing to finish in World Cups,” he concluded.
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