Asia Cup 2023: File image of Pakistan captain Babar Azam© AFP
Pakistan captain Babar Azam doesn’t want to make a hue and cry about ‘Hybrid Model’ of hosting the Asia Cup but felt that it would have been nice to have hosted the marquee tournament in his country in its entirety. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have hosting rights for the Asia Cup but the Asian Cricket Council headed by Jay Shah opted for ‘Hybrid Model’ where Sri Lanka became the co-hosts after it was clear that Indian cricket team won’t travel to Pakistan.
“If you ask me, it would have been good if the whole tournament would have been held in Pakistan but unfortunately nothing can be done about it,” Pakistan skipper Babar said at the pre-tournament media conference ahead of the opening match against minnows Nepal.
Pakistan start on Wednesday (Aug 30) against Nepal in Multan and then fly to Sri Lanka the very next day for the big ticket clash against India at Pallekele on September 2. Within 24 hours (September 3), they are back in Lahore for their Super Four game on September 6 and fly back to Sri Lanka, the next day for the next game on September 9. “As professionals, we are ready for any schedule that is given to us. There would be travelling as well as back-to-back games and we are ready for that,” said Babar.
“Our coaches and support staff have chalked out plans about how much we would utilise each player and also we have booked our flights in such a manner, that our travelling schedule gives enough time to rest,” the skipper said.
While he didn’t want to divulge his strategy about the India game, he expects that his team would put up the best show possible.
“We want to continue with this momentum. Pakistan’s match against India will be a high-intensity game and we want to play our best cricket on the given day,” he added.
The skipper, rated as one of the premier batters in contemporary cricket, is happy that Pakistan team is currently ranked No. 1 in ODI rankings and also a lot of their players are in top-10.
“I needed to take the team to a different level and change mindset. Now, we have at least 3-4 players in top-10 and when you set a standard, there will be expectations and you have to fulfil those expectations. Performances should be such that the team wins,” he added.
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