Pakistan-England series is very crucial, says Babar


By our correspondent

KARACHI: Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam on Monday said that the series against England will help the nation prepare well for the ICC T20 World Cup which will begin in Australia next month.

“Definitely it’s a big series,” Babar told a news conference ahead of the seven-match T20 series opener here at the National Stadium.

“England have come after 17 years and we are excited as a team. It’s a very crucial series before the World Cup. We will try to give hundred percent in the series,” Babar said.

Babar passed through a lean patch during the Asia Cup in the UAE recently and wants to regain his form in the series.

“It’s also very important series for me as a batsman and I will try to bring my form back,” Babar was quick to add.

Babar said that in bad patch effort is done to keep the things ‘simple and under control’.

“The main thing is to believe in yourself,” said Babar when asked what is the mindset of a player when he passes through tough time.

Babar expects the tracks of the National Stadium will suit T20 cricket.

“These are new surfaces. I think wickets will be proper T20 wickets and you will get a good competition,” Babar said.

Babar defended the pace with which he and Rizwan batted in the past as openers in T20 cricket.

“If you see during the last two years our opening partnership remained successful,” Babar said. “You have to bat in different situations. It’s all about the plans and it’s not the case that you change the whole game. Yes, you slightly expedite the things and we try in every game,” Babar said.

“Our opening partnerships also helped the nation win matches. When you get the momentum, the middle order then carries it. If we lose early wicket then we try that the other opener goes deep and bats until the end,” said Babar.

“My strike rate remains fluctuating in between 130 and 135. Sometimes you also bat with a low strike rate and it depends on the situation,” said Babar.

Babar said that he is not worried about his middle order which he feels has clicked in the Asia Cup.

“It was not the case that I took the pressure of failure of the middle order which hurt my own performance. I was happy that our middle order performed and won crucial matches. There is no such worry. We always try to give hundred percent. Its cricket and here ups and downs go side by side and we always try to back the players who fail to deliver,” said the skipper.

Asked that the dot balls are more in Pakistan’s batting Babar said: “It depends on the situation.”

“In such situations we have chased 200 and have also put on 200. You can chase 200 and put on 200 if your top order goes deep. In the Asia Cup, yes, dot balls ratio was a bit there but it’s not that we lost the game because of that. We have pulled off fine performances in the past within this strike rate. As a team we have talked about it and will try to improve this area,” Babar said.

Babar said that ace-pacer Shaheen Afridi will be missed during the series against England.

“We will miss Shaheen. We had also missed him in the Asia Cup. I have talked to him and he has made significant improvement and has started training and in the first week of October he will start bowling and hopefully he will make a comeback,” Babar said.

“I think in Asia Cup powerplay has been utilized and it depends on how you play. When you lose wickets you try to build the innings. In the past we have utilized well the powerplay and we have scored 60 and 50 runs. I and Rizwan always try to take it deep. Every player has his responsibility and effort is made to play according to the modern cricket,” he said.




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