Babar Azam hopes and expects Pakistan to leave behind their World Cup semifinal defeat and look to take forward the momentum that they gained during the tournament in Bangladesh. Azam’s Pakistan were one of the most clinical sides in the Super 12s, going unbeaten in the five games before being knocked out by eventual champions Australia in the semifinal.
“The World Cup is in the past and we need to move on from it and move forward looking into the future keeping the momentum that we gathered,” Azam said ahead of their opening game against the hosts. Pakistan kick off their tour with the first of the three T20Is on Friday (November 19), with the next two fixtures on Saturday (November 20) and Monday (November 22). After these three games in the national capital, the teams will move to Chittagong for the first Test from November 26, before returning to Dhaka for the second and final Test from December 4.
“Certainly it was disappointing to lose in the World Cup and the whole team got hurt. We have discussed our mistakes and the whole team is confident and we have full faith among us. I have tried not to break the momentum that we got from the World Cup and look, this is the time when we need to back our cricketers.
“The cricketers are experienced enough and understand these things (losing in the World Cup semi-final) and now we have to move forward,” he said. Azam also reckoned that Pakistan will try out different combinations to test their bench strength, but also pointed out that not all the first-choice players will be rested. Asif Ali and Imad Wasim were not among the 12-man squad that Azam named.
Pakistan 12-member squad: Babar Azam (Captain), Shadab Khan (Vice Captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf Hasan Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jr,Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik
”We want to continue the World Cup momentum. We are trying to play a different combination so that we can try out our bench strength. We have West Indies tour next and probably there are six matches so we want to try out different players,” Azam said.
”You cannot keep aside the momentum that we got and rest the main players. There are Test matches as well and it is their home series so you cannot take them easy though they are missing couple of their key players. They are seasoned cricketers and they play in the BPL so we cannot take them easily,” he said when his attention was drawn to the fact that Bangladesh will be without Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Azam was non-committal on the futures of veterans like Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, who were integral members of the squad in their semifinal run, and felt it was too early to take a call on what the squad will look like for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.
”It’s too early to say with whom we will go for the next World Cup as we will be planning about it after sitting with the selectors. We have to discuss a lot of things. We are now planning series by series and only think about the World Cup when we sit together to discuss about it.
In the World Cup we played like a unit and the way guys responded and we have to continue with it. The clarity of role is very important and when it is done you can play accordingly and that is what we are trying,” he said.
Azam hoped to continue Pakistan’s approach to T20 – of laying a solid platform at the top with the bat and pushing ahead at the death – even on pitches in Dhaka, where run-making will be far tougher than it was in UAE.
”As far as I understand the wicket will not be the same as like UAE. We have to keep our wickets in hand so that we can push in the end. In the World Cup we tried to accelerate in the last seven to eight overs and the planning will be the same. The more we keep our wicket intact we have better chances,” Azam said.