Babar Azam has his sights set on a significant achievement, aiming to replicate what the Imran Khan-led team accomplished in 1992. After resolving their last-minute visa issues, the Pakistan cricket team is now ready to travel to India for the 2023 ODI World Cup, commencing on October 5 in Ahmedabad.
This marks their first cricketing visit to the neighboring country since the 2016 T20 World Cup, where they faced an early exit after finishing fourth with just one win in four games.
It’s also their first ODI series in India since 2012, and while expectations are high for the Babar Azam-led squad, the captain responded to expert predictions with unwavering confidence.
Babar Azam hosts a press conference, addressing the team’s preparations for the upcoming Cricket World Cup
Apart from Mohammad Nawaz and Agha Salman, only two members of the current Pakistan squad have previous experience playing in India. The rest of the team, including captain Babar Azam, lacks prior exposure to Indian cricket venues.
“Although we have not played in India before, we are not taking too much pressure. We have done our research and we have heard the conditions are similar to how they play out in other Asian countries,” said Babar in the pre-departure media conference in Lahore.
“It is quite an honour for me to travel as the captain this time around, I hope we come back with a trophy this time.”
While Pakistan’s players may not have experience with Indian conditions, many experienced cricketers, including the most recent being South Africa’s Hashim Amla, have predicted that Pakistan will reach the top four in the 2023 World Cup.
However, Babar has grander ambitions, aiming to replicate the success of the 1992 Imran Khan-led team. When he was informed about these predictions, Babar responded with a confident smile and said:
“The top-four is a small goal for us. We will become No. 1. We did not have enough time to put together a camp before the World Cup because we had been playing for too long continuously. “
“We wanted to give the players a break so they come back refreshed and with the hunger to win. You play well when you have that hunger.”
Pakistan’s World Cup journey kicks off on October 6 against the Netherlands. Before the tournament opener, they have scheduled two warm-up matches in Hyderabad, on September 29 and October 3.