Sunday March 03, 2024

Babar Azam spends day off golfing with Pakistan coaches in Kolkata

Other players stay back and spend their time gyming and swimming sessions in hotel

November 07, 2023
Babar Azam and head coach Grant Bradburn seen at the golf club in this collage. — Reporter
Babar Azam and head coach Grant Bradburn seen at the golf club in this collage. — Reporter 

KOLKATA: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Tuesday went golfing with the team's coaches in Kolkata as the national squad present in India had a day off from matches and training sessions to rest ahead of the next clash in the ongoing ICC Men's World Cup.

The skipper was accompanied by the team's head coach Grant Bradburn, batting coach Andrew Puttick, and bowling coach Morne Morkel accompanied the skipper at the golf club, while the remaining team members stayed back in their hotel.

The players participated in gyming and swimming sessions at the hotel.

It may be noted that the Pakistan squad is not allowed to go on outings often due to the tight security protocol they have been given in India.

The team members will resume their training from tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2pm local time.

It must be noted that Pakistan defeated New Zealand by 21 runs (DLS method) in a must-win match that was consistently interrupted by rain and was eventually called off.

The match was stopped due to rain while the Green Shirts were batting at 200-1 in 25.3 overs with Fakhar Zaman (126*) and skipper Babar Azam (66*) still on the crease.

Courtesy of a blistering batting display by Fakhar, Pakistan were 21 runs ahead on the DLS score after 25.3 overs and emerged victorious.

The 194-run partnership between Azam and Fakhar propelled the Green Shirts to an essential win as they now prepare to take on the struggling England team at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on November 11.

Despite victory against New Zealand there are still many ifs and buts on whether Babar Azam's men can qualify for the World Cup semi-finals. It is pertinent to look into the factors that might decide the Green Shirts' prospects of making it to the knockout stage of the tournament.

The best-case scenario for Pakistan is to secure a win against England and if Sri Lanka beat the Kiwis on November 9, the national side might likely qualify for the semis.

Apart from this straightforward scenario, the Men in Green's future in the tournament also depends upon Afghanistan, who currently are tied with Pakistan with eight points.

If Afghanistan win their next two matches — against Australia and South Africa — they will qualify for the semis with 12 points.

However, even if they win one of their two remaining matches and Pakistan also wins their next match against England, both teams will again tie on the points table with 10 points, bringing the net run-rate (NRR) into play.

At present, Pakistan's NRR stands at +0.036 as compared to Afghanistan's -0.330. However, the equation might change as Pakistan are yet to play one more match, whereas Afghanistan have two more matches in the tournament.