Thursday, July 25, 2024

Men’s ODI WC: Golden opportunity for us to perform well in front of the fans and become heroes, says Babar Azam

Amidst the hype and pressure around the high-octane India-Pakistan clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday, Babar Azam feels the match is a golden opportunity for his team to become heroes by performing well in front of fans expected to pack 1,32,000 seats in the stadium.

“To be honest – yes, the India-Pakistan match is a big game – it is a high intensity game. I’ve just told them to give us the best opportunity – give us whatever best you have, and do what you have been doing. That’s our belief as a player, as a team – we will execute our plans.”

“The main thing is to execute our plans and believe in ourselves. Ahmedabad is a big stadium and a lot of fans are coming. So, this is a golden opportunity for us to perform well in front of the fans and become heroes,” said Azam in the pre-match press conference.

Pakistan lead India 73-56 in the head-to-head record in ODIs. But the story is different as far as 50-over World Cups are concerned, as India have won all seven encounters against their arch-rivals starting from 1992. On being reminded of the jinx, Azam expressed confidence in his team’s abilities to get their first win over India in World Cups.

“I don’t focus on the past; I try to focus on the future. Such records are made to be broken and I try to break them. I will try to give a good performance tomorrow, on the match day. It depends on the day how you play.”

“I believe my team did well in the first two matches and will do well in the next matches as well. We believe that we can do it and we will go with full confidence. Tomorrow – you never know, but we believe that we can do it. We will go with full confidence and give our best.”

Azam also thinks toss and dew will be vital factors in Saturday’s clash. “I think all the matches we have seen; toss is vital because under the lights the pitch behaves well. There was a little dew – but I don’t know. We will ask the umpire if there will be a spray or not for dew. But last night there was dew. Under the lights, the weather plays a role.”

Pakistan come into the clash on the back of two wins over Netherlands and Sri Lanka in Hyderabad. Azam thinks that with experience, he has learnt to withstand the pressure of playing in high-octane clashes, especially the ones involving India.

“We learn to handle pressure through experience – the more you go through it the better you know how to handle it. As a youngster, you feel that when I played for the first time, there was a lot of pressure. But as you play, you share your experience with the senior players. You share how to play and how to handle pressure. So, it comes with experience.”

“The aim is to give a positive message to the youngsters or the team. It’s a big game, a Pakistan-India match. How to handle it? Keep yourself calm. Keep your eyes on the ball. When you are in the field, keep your eyes on the ball. When you are batting, keep your eyes on the ball. That’s it. Don’t think too much. Just keep yourself focused. Look at the ball and the batting whenever time is,” he concluded.

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