Babar optimistic ahead of Australia tour

The prolific batsman succeeded Sarfaraz Ahmed as the new captain of the T20I side

Babar optimistic ahead of Australia tour PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s newly appointed Twenty20 International (T20I) captain Babar Azam, during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday, was optimistic of a good showing from the Men in Green during the upcoming tour of Australia.

The prolific batsman claimed that he had experience captaining at the junior level and stated that the team would try to perform well against Australia.

“I came to watch a match here at the Gaddafi Stadium 12 years ago. Now I am the captaining the national side. We will try to perform well. I have captained in the domestic and junior level,” said Babar.

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Babar revealed that he would play his natural game without being bogged down by the weight of expectations.

“I will take everyone with me during my captaincy. I have more responsibility now as captain. I will try to live up to the expectations. My individual performance did not suffer in the domestic tournament,” he said. “I will focus on both mine and the team’s performance. I will play my natural game instead of being bogged down by the responsibility of being captain.”

The T20I captain believed that the Men in Green had the ideal combination of youth and experience which would result in strong performances against Australia.

“The team combination against Australia will have a good mix of experience and youth. Selecting players for the team is the job of the selection committee,” he said. “Sri Lanka had a young team. We have learned from our mistakes. We will provide a strong showing against Australia.”

Babar was aware of the challenges the team will face in Australia but claimed the team was ready to take them head on.

“Australian pitches will offer significant bounce. We have prepared for that. Our pace attack is very good. Young pacers Mohammad Musa and Mohammad Hasnain will be there along with the experienced Mohammad Amir,” he said. “We will get a chance to acclimatise to the conditions of Australia for the World T20. Imamul Haq will be the backup opener. I will open the innings with Fakhar Zaman.”

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The 25-year-old praised the services of the former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and vowed to follow in his footsteps.

“Sarfaraz had served Pakistan very well. I will try to follow in his footsteps and win the series against Australia. There are no friendships in the ground. Leg-spinner Usman Qadir has been selected due to his experience on the Australian pitches. I try to pace my strike rate according to the team’s plans. I play for the team and not myself,” he concluded.

Earlier, Babar replaced Sarfaraz as captain after the latter was removed as a result of Pakistan’s recent T20I whitewash at the hands of a lowly ranked Sri Lanka side.