‘Every cricketer faces ups and downs’
Kohli and Azam’s camaraderie and support for each other has always warmed ones heart, and on Saturday, the struggling batter once again found support from the Pakistani star batter, who indicated that an athlete has to be really strong to overcome failures.
“Every cricketer, if you ask me, faces ups and downs in their career. It’s not that there is only success and no failures. You really need a strong mindset to handle things in life that often do not go in your favour,” Babar said.
Last year’s win is a thing of past now:Babar Azam
Meanwhile, coming to the match, Pakistan last played India in last year’s T20 World Cup, where they handed the Men in Blue a 10-wicket thrashing. With no bilateral series, the meetings between the two sides have become rare. Furthermore, the win in the T20 World Cup was Pakistan’s first-ever World Cup win over their neighbours.
But on Saturday, the Pakistan skipper said that game is a thing of the past and Sunday’s match will be another contest all together, with their previous match having no impact whatsoever. “Honestly, that game is a thing of past now. It won’t have an impact on Sunday’s match. I am completely focused on tomorrow’s game.
“The teams are kind of different, the conditions are different. Although as a side we are confident, we won’t talk big ahead of the game. We wish to prove it on the field. As a captain, I am ready to give my 100 percent,” said Azam.
‘Every cricket lover waits for this clash’
An Indian-Pakistan match is always a high-voltage clash. Due to the geopolitical issues, the two sides play no bilateral cricket, meeting in only multi-nation tournaments. With their meetings a rare event now, Azam said, the contest is always a highly-anticipated one.
“Every cricket lover around the world waits for this clash. We, as cricketers also enjoy taking part in it. Both the teams try their best to keep their respective fans happy,” added Azam.
‘Always love interacting with the Indian players’
Put aside the tension between the two nations, the camaraderie between the players have also been heartwarming. Speaking about their time with the Indian players, the Pakistan captain said that he always enjoys interacting with the Indian cricketers before they face-off in big tournaments.
“Yes, we love interacting with them. As cricketers, it is important we do that. I think it is pretty normal thing to do that. We do the same with the other teams as well,” Babar stated.
Shaheen’s absence is a big factor
In a big blow for Pakistan, star left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi was ruled out of the tournament due to injury. On the eve of their opener, Babar said that the absence of star player has slightly changed the dynamics of Sunday’s big game and had the 22-year-old taken part, things could have been different.
“Of course. Had Shaheen played the game against India tomorrow, things could have been in our favour. But he is out now. Having said that, our other fast bowlers are quite good and ready to deliver for the side,’ Babar said.
Not taking the Indian bowlers lightly
Both sides will be missing key players. While Pakistan will be missing Afridi, India will be without the services of Jasprit Bumrah, who is also missing the tournament due to injury.
But Azam said despite India without the services of star pacers Bumrah and Harshal Patel, they cannot take their opposition lightly.
“Not any particular bowler, but I am taking every bowler quite seriously. I always do that as a batsman, irrespective of the fact, who I face. Every team has their top bowlers, and as a batsman you always have to ready yourself to face them. They can give you a tough time at any given moment,” Babar said.
India and Pakistan will open their Asia Cup campaign on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium.