AHMEDABAD: It was a response which best summed up his unflustered, simple personality. On the eve of his team’s ‘Match of the Tournament’ in the World Cup against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Pakistan captain Babar Azam, currently not in his best touch, was asked whether he was worried about losing his captaincy, should his side lose the big-ticket clash.
It will be the first time Pakistan will be playing India in India in more than seven years.
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“Ek match se meri kaptaani nahi jaaegi na mili thi. (I didn’t get the captaincy because of one match and I will not lose it because of one match),” the 28-year-old replied, his calm demeanour backing his confident tone.
In fact, Babar did well to negotiate a ‘bouncer’ off the very first ‘ball’ that he faced in the presser-a query about whether people back home were reminding him of Pakistan’s abysmal 0-7 record against India in
ODI World Cups, and then urging him to overturn it. “I don’t focus on the past. I try to focus on the future. Such records are made to be broken and I (will) try to break them. I believe my team did well in the first two matches and will do well in the next matches as well,” Babar replied.
Queried further on how he deals with the pressure of changing this lop-sided record-often played up on TV news channels, newspapers and the social media-in the eighth clash between the teams in ODI World Cups, Babar lightened up the mood by saying: “I also got a lot of calls for tickets. Basically, people call me for tickets. We don’t take pressure about this (past record) at all.”
Even though Pakistan have won both their matches coming into this clash, Babar would personally have been happier with more runs in the bank, having been dismissed for five against the Netherlands & 10 against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad, in the World Cup so far. “My World Cup till now hasn’t been as it should have been, but hopefully, you will see some difference in the next matches,” he said.
He has endured an ordinary time in ODIs against India-just 168 runs in seven matches-but Babar pointed out that India and Pakistan don’t play each other enough for his worth to be judged based on these contests. “Against India, we only come face to face in the World Cup. There is a big gap. It’s not because of a bowler or…I say that I sometimes get out because of my mistake,” he said.
On Saturday night, Pakistan will have to contend with India’s ’12th man’ too-1,30,000 fans. With no visas for the Pakistan fans yet, the visitors will have no one egging them on from the stands. “If Pakistani fans were allowed, it would have been good for us,” said the Pakistan captain.