Babar decides to field best combination against England

By Abdul Mohi Shah
May 22, 2024
Babar Azam celebrates the catch of India's Hardik Pandya during the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2022 cricket match in Melbourne on October 23, 2022.— AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: No time for experiments as Pakistan team captain Babar Azam declared fielding his best side in the four-match T20 International series against England starting at Leeds today (Wednesday).


In a pre-series media talk on Tuesday, Babar revealed that speedster Haris Rauf has been declared fit and ready to play in the series. “We have overcome injuries with Haris Rauf given all clear to play in the series. Now it is time to go out with the best possible combination as if we are playing some important match in the World Cup. Not much time left for the start of the mega event which is just two weeks away. So we are planning to go all out with the best possible combination at the outset of the four-match series.”

Babar admitted that the series holds immense importance when it comes to Pakistan team’s preparations for the World Cup. “Winning here or putting up a solid show in the series will help Pakistan get a required boost for the World Cup. England are the world champions, any good performance against such a team would go a long way in helping the team step into the World Cup with a big heart.”

Pakistan captain added that barring a one odd change, the rest of the combination during the series will give a look of a combination that management wants to see during the World Cup. “We have almost finalised the combination, barring one odd change that usually is necessary considering the condition, the rest of the team combination will be the same in the series as you will see in the World Cup.”

Babar said that the series against Ireland, especially the last two matches, were played with the same mindset. “It is time to make things happen with the best combination.” On his personal position, Babar said he will take the field as a one down batsman, meaning that Saim Ayub and Mohammad Rizwan would be opening the innings for Pakistan.

“Besides batting, we have also finalised bowling options with one odd change according to the requirements. I would be occupying the crease as a one down batsman not as an opener.” Like Imad Wasim, Babar also declared that the aggressive mindset and intent would be there. “We have changed our mindset with the second T20 against Ireland -- both in bowling and batting. The newly-adopted approach will be on display during the series against England. We have made some glaring mistakes during the first T20 against Ireland and then changed our mindset but doing that it is very important to keep an eye on the situation. The demand of the situation is also a key element in deciding the intent both in bowling and batting. Sometimes you have to lower gear in order to regroup. Sometimes you are forced to play a calculated game to make the best of a given situation. As a whole our tempo will be the same as you have seen during the last two T20 internationals.”

On his striking four sixes in an over against Ireland, Babar said that was the very demand of the situation. “We required some quick runs. I knew that was my chance to take the bowler on which I did and achieved four sixes in an over.”

Babar was hopeful that bowlers would execute plans making their best efforts in the series. “The bowlers have made some mistakes against Ireland but came back strongly to make amends and restrict opponents to reachable target in the last two T20 Internationals. ”