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January 26, 2021

Babar confident Pakistan will do well against South Africa

Islamabad

January 26, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam on Monday said that they are very confident to produce the best result in the first Test against South Africa which will start here at National Stadium on Tuesday (today).

“We are very much excited as the boys have prepared well for the last one week. We are confident to pull the results in our favour,” Babar told a virtual news conference. “We should set aside Pakistan’s past record against South Africa and we should focus on tomorrow’s match. We will try our level best to get the best out of our preparations which we have made,” Babar was quick to add in response to a question about Pakistan’s record against Proteas.

Having missed the chance to make his Test debut as captain on the recent New Zealand tour due to an injury, Babar has the opportunity to show his leadership ability in the longest format at home.

And Babar feels proud that he will be making his Test debut as skipper on his own soil. “Unfortunately I missed the New Zealand series due to injury but I feel proud that I will make my Test debut as captain in my own country,” he said.

Rating South Africa a top team, Babar said the hosts are also strong and they would put in their best to exploit the home conditions. “South Africa is a top team but our combination is also very good. Conditions suit us as most of our players know these conditions,” he said.

Babar said that they would try to execute the plans rightly. “The South Africans know the Asian conditions. It is not their young team but a senior side. But we have plans for everyone of their players. We have told the boys to stick to the plans,” he said.

“In Karachi the wicket is a bit slow. Team and individuals plans are ready and what individuals needed have been provided to them by the team management,” he said.

Responding to a question, Babar said that there is no pressure on the youngsters inducted into the side. “There is no pressure on them. It’s a learning step for them and the boys who learn fast will benefit. Pakistan are to play back-to-back home series and youngsters will learn. They will learn the difference between domestic and international cricket,” he said.

“Personally I have been really impressed by the young lot. I am very happy. It’s important to give them maximum game awareness,” said Babar who played his last Test against England at Southampton in August last year.

Responding to a query, he said that he has to take input from the coach in making the final XI but the final decision will be his. “As I have to handle the playing XI, I always try to do so myself. I have to take input from the coach but the final decision is mine,” Babar clarified.

He ducked a few questions about his team’s plans to field first or bat first and who will open the innings. “Our mind is absolutely clear and you will know it tomorrow. We will go with the best combination,” Babar said.

Pakistan have three openers: uncapped Imran Butt, Abid Ali and former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali. Azhar normally plays at No3 in Test cricket but he likes to open the innings.

Babar said aggression always suits off the field and it is important to execute the plans and back the players on the field. The previous Test Pakistan played against South Africa at Karachi way back in 2007 was won by the Proteas by 160.