There's more to come from Pakistan, says skipper Azam

Pakistan completed a 3-0 clean sweep against the West Indies in Multan

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam kisses his helmet after scoring a century during the first ODI. — AP
Pakistan captain Babar Azam kisses his helmet after scoring a century during the first ODI. — AP

By Agencies

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 12:00 AM

A clean sweep and a jump. The Pakistan cricket team couldn’t have asked for anything better at the moment — they swept the One-Day International series against the West Indies 3-0 in Multan. And as an effect of that, Babar Azam’s side jumped one spot from No.5 to No.4 ahead of India, when the latest ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings were announced on Monday.

But Azam, who were stellar with the bat in the series, believes there’s more to come from the side.

“We could execute the plans and are giving 100% in all departments and the results are there to see,” Azam said after the match.

“We had to check the bench strength as well as utilise the seniors. We are trying different combinations with bat and ball. We will try to keep continuity and keep testing. We have different areas of improvements as each of the three games showed. We hope to learn from our mistakes and get better,” he added.

Azam has been in rollicking form himself, becoming the first batsman to score three consecutive ODI centuries twice.

On his brilliant form, he said: “I try to play positive cricket and try to play the situation. The conditions were differently in each of the games.”

Meanwhile, Imam-ul-Haq, who was named the Player of the Series, with 199 runs, said he has always believed in sticking to the process and the results will come.

“It feels nice. It’s about the process and I was working hard. It feels special to play with these bunch of players,” said Imam-ul-Haq.

“I haven’t changed much. After 2019, we haven’t played much ODIs and so that takes time. It’s just the confidence of doing well in back-to-back games. With Babar, it’s been 11 years that we know each other and we know each other’s game. So when there is pressure, we talk a lot and it helps,” he added.

Leg-spinner Shabab Khan, was amongst the top wicket takers in the series, returning with seven wickets, the same as left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz. He was making a return from injury after missing the series against Australia.

“It’s difficult after the injuries because the confidence is down. But it feels good to do well. I will try and do better,” said Shadab.

Meanwhile, Pakistan jumped a spot to No.4 in the latest ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings after the series win. Before the start of the series, Pakistan were placed fifth in the rankings with a rating of 102. But the 3-0 clean sweep over the Windies has boosted them to No.4 with a rating of 106, leaving India behind at 105.

Pakistan have enjoyed a brilliant last couple of years in the 50-over format. Apart from the blip against England away from home, they have taken on all comers and emerged victorious, including 2-1 series wins against Zimbabwe and South Africa.

They defeated Australia by the same margin when they came to visit Pakistan for the first time since 1998. West Indies stood no chance against Pakistan as they were rampaged 3-0.

India, though, will have a chance to climb the rankings as they play England and West Indies (three ODIs each) before Pakistan play their next ODI series in August.

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