Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam on Saturday made it clear that he expects his side to play “fearless” and “aggressive” cricket, ahead of the two-match Test series against South Africa.
Speaking to Ramiz Raja via the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) digital platform, the 26-year-old batsman said that he wants players to give 100% on the ground without fear of any consequences.
“I want the team to play positive but aggressive and fearless cricket, especially in white-ball cricket if we want to challenge top teams,” he said.
“Usually we stop scoring runs if we lose one or two quick wickets and this is where I want the team’s mindset to change — even if you’ve lost two quick wickets, you must continue to add numbers to the scoreboard,” the skipper added.
Babar said that Micky Arthur had always backed him and that support from the former coach helped him gain confidence.
“I was struggling, especially with red-ball cricket but Mickey supported me and kept backing me, which gave me confidence. It also made me realise how important it is for a player to be backed by team management when he’s struggling,” the Pakistan captain said.
“I am going to apply the same. I will support my players,” he said. Babar said that being a captain, he always tries to take responsibility instead of escaping blame and always aims to lead from the front.
The top batsman, however, added that when he’s in middle order with the bat, he tries to focus on the game just as a batsman and doesn’t think much about the captain’s role.
He also made it clear to his cricket friends that they shouldn’t expect any out-of-the-way support from him.
“When you’re in the ground, you’re there for Pakistan and Pakistan should come first, [we are not] friends there. All your relations with individuals should be kept out of the ground,” he said.
Azam said that to be a top-quality side, it is important for Pakistan to be aggressive and beat top teams on their home soil.
“We need to be good enough against top-quality sides if we want ourselves to be considered as a topside and for that, we need to win series against top teams,” the Pakistan captain said.
Recalling his early days, Azam said that he always liked South Africa’s AB de Villiers and learned various shots by watching his videos.
“When I got the opportunity to meet AB de Villiers, it was a fan moment for me. I met him as a fan and asked him different questions about his batting,” Babar said.
Speaking further, Babar said that he always wanted to play cricket and was passionate about batting. He would walk from his home to a cricket ground daily to do nets from morning to evening to get himself ready.
“When I first told my family that I want to play club cricket, they shunned me, but later my father took me to a club. My first year was miserable but I didn’t lose hope, kept on working hard and became a top scorer the next year and since then I haven’t looked back,” he said.—Agencies