Pressure will be on India: Babar Azam on T20 World Cup clash in Dubai

Filed on September 2, 2021
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, poses with the ICC T20 World Cup trophy alongside BCCI and ICC officials in Dubai on Thursday. (UAE Cricket Twitter)

We would like to start our campaign by defeating India, Babar said

Pakistan captain Babar Azam feels pressure will be more on the fancied India when the arch-rivals meet in the T20 World Cup on October 24.

After a meeting with the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman in waiting, Ramiz Raja, Babar said: “I think India will be under more pressure as compared to Pakistan during the World Cup match.

“We would like to start our campaign by defeating India.”

The arch-rivals are set to clash in Dubai in the group stage of the World T20 Cup as per the draws released by the International Cricket Council.

Both teams have not played any cricket against each other since the World Cup 2019 in England when India won comfortably.

India have had the upper hand over Pakistan in ICC events and remain undefeated in the 50-over World Cup.

Babar pointed out that playing in the UAE would be like playing at home for Pakistan.

“It is like playing at our home ground when we play at UAE venues and we want to give our 100 percent on the field coupled with that,” he added.

Babar also expressed satisfaction with the ODI squad announced for the series against New Zealand which has drawn a lot of flak from critics and former players.

Babar claimed that a balanced squad had been picked for the series.

The selectors dropped former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed from the squad while recalling batsmen, Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah.

“We are facing issues in the middle-order and this series is a good opportunity for players making a comeback to cement their place in the side,” he said.

He also insisted he was under no pressure leading the team in all three formats.

Sarfaraz, a wicketkeeper-batsman, has played only one of the last 10 ODIs — against South Africa at Centurion in April. Mohammad Rizwan has been Pakistan’s first choice wicketkeeper for more than a year.

“Mohammad Rizwan remains the first-choice wicketkeeper,” chief selector Mohammad Wasim said. “We continue to groom young wicketkeepers who are fit and ready to step up when the opportunity presents itself.”

Twenty-year-old wicketkeeper Mohammad Haris was named in the ODI squad as a backup for Rizwan. The other uncapped players include fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood.

Middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah were recalled after both last played in the ODI series against Zimbabwe last year in Pakistan.

Beside Sarfaraz, the selectors dropped batsmen Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha and Sohaib Maqsood from the team which last played an ODI series against England in July.

New Zealand will arrive in Pakistan on Sept. 11 and will play the ODI series at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Sept. 17, 19 and 21.

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