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Agencies
April 22, 2019

Haris, Babar play down power-hitting concerns

Sports

A
Agencies
April 22, 2019

LAHORE: Middle-order batsmen Babar Azam and Haris Sohail are expected to play a key role for Pakistan at the ICC World Cup 2019, but with the team lacking batting firepower, there have been concerns over whether this side can put up totals that challenge more aggressive modern sides. However, Babar and Haris feel those worries are overplayed.

“Cricket is a different game nowadays,” Haris told reporters during a press gathering at the Gaddafi Stadium. “In ODI cricket, a total above 300 is now par. Not in the UAE, where pitches are slower and you need to take more time. But definitely that applies in countries like England. So over there, you’ll see us play more aggressively,” he said.

Babar also feels no such need to be defensive about his natural game. “If you talk about the strike rate, conditions differ depending on where you are. Against Australia in the first ODI, it was very important for me to play 50 overs rather than score quickly. Even so, I scored my century in 114 balls, while [Aaron] Finch got his [in the same game] in 119. The second century I scored, my strike rate was over 100.

“If I can be number one in the world without power hitting, then I don’t need power hitting! But when I need to, I utilise it well. I don’t just play along the ground,” Babar said. “I practice hitting the ball big and when needed, I use it. My role is to play out the full overs. My individual role is to take the innings as deep as I can and perform in a way that benefits the team most of all,” he added.

Haris, one of two Pakistan players who were also part of the 2015 World Cup campaign, said that for now he is focused on the England series. “Before that (World Cup), we have a very important series against England. If we win that series, we’ll get a great deal of help in getting used to those conditions. We still have about 10 matches to go before the World Cup if you count all the practice matches.”

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