Babar Azam acknowledged the nerves caused by the hype and pressure of the India vs Pakistan games, advising his team to stay calm and focus on the basics to handle the expectations.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam acknowledged the significant hype, expectations, and pressure that accompany India-Pakistan matches, urging his team to maintain composure for their T20 World Cup match. Reflecting on the historical rivalry, Babar noted that these matches are unparalleled in terms of discussion, excitement, and fan engagement. He emphasized the importance of managing this pressure by concentrating on fundamental skills and strategies, which he believes will simplify the players’ approach to the high-stakes game.

“We know the Pakistan-India fixture generates more discussion than any other match. There is a different vibe altogether for this fixture, and there’s a lot of excitement too not just among players but also among the fans. Wherever you go in the world, you’ll have people talking about the India-Pakistan match with everyone supporting their country. Every fan eagerly waits for this fixture and focuses on this one particular match,” Babar said when speaking in a PCB Podcast.

“Obviously, the expectations and the hype around this match causes some nervousness. It all comes down to how you handle it and the more you focus on the basics, the easier it will be for you as a player. It’s a game of immense pressure, and if you keep your head cool, stay calm and trust your hard work and skills, things will be easier,” he added.

Pakistan, champions in 2009, has been consistent in the T20 World Cup, reaching the semi-finals six times in eight editions. They were runners-up in 2007 and 2022, losing the latter final to England.

Babar reflected on past matches in the T20 World Cup, expressing regret over missed opportunities, particularly in 2022. He emphasized the importance of giving their best against every opponent, focusing on effort and maintaining a positive mindset, acknowledging that results are uncertain.

“For me, in 2022, we could and should have won the India game, but they took it away. The most hurtful was the defeat against Zimbabwe. It hurts more because we had played good cricket against India and people were praising our performance and fight back,” Babar said.

“It’s the aim of any cricketer to play in a World Cup, so that kind of feeling is coming over me. The hope is always to lift the trophy, but for that to happen, we have to play top cricket against every side. Effort is in our hands, but results, we do not know. How we present ourselves on the ground, our body language and how we communicate with each other will matter. We must be positive, so results will come,” he added.

READ ALSO | ‘Babar Azam Carries Team Weight On His Shoulders’: PAK Coach Gary Kirsten Wants Skipper’s ‘Natural Talent’

Nevertheless, the Pakistan skipper expressed his desire to win an ICC trophy, stating that it would be a significant achievement and a source of great pride for him and the team.

“As a batter, I have achieved decently and, as a captain, I have won a few series. But lifting the ICC trophy is a different motivation. You go to a different level and get a lot of praise. So, the motivation, aspiration and dream remains to lift an ICC trophy and present it to Pakistan,” Babar concluded.

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Last Updated on June 2, 2024

Senior Sports Copywriter