Babar’s next goal of winning is World Cup

Babar Azam urges team to focus on New Zealand series rather than PCB changes

Pakistani Skipper Babar Azam who would be completing the century of matches in ODI format on Sunday was focused to set more records in the game and sees wining the World Cup as his next goal.

Babar has had an illustrious career since he made his debut for Pakistan in ODI against Zimbabwe in Lahore almost eight years ago.

The prolific batter has transformed himself into one of the most successful batters in recent history. He has been the number-one batter on the ICC ODI Rankings since 2 April 2022 and currently holds the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year and ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year award, the last being his second in as many years.

“Being the captain of a World Cup winning side would be sweet,” in Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Podcast.

When Pakistan and New Zealand would walk out for their final meeting of the five-match ODI series at the National Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Babar, the fastest batter to 5,000 runs, will complete the century of matches in the format.

Babar believes team director Mickey Arthur presence has been integral in the transformation of the prolific battter.

The presence of Mickey Arthur, the then head coach and now team director, helped him evolve into a reliable stroke-maker.

“I want to mention Mickey as he played an inte-gral role in my transformation. As a cricketer, there’s a feeling that if you are not up to the mark, you might get dropped from the side, but he gave me the confidence. He asked me to give my best to the side and not worry about getting axed from the side and that helped me a great deal. He did not only do it with me but with every player in the side and that is why we have eight to nine players in the side currently from that lot,” he said.

Speaking about the road to becoming an international cricketer he said was full of sacrifices. “I was very close to my paternal uncle and when he passed away, I was on a tour with Pakistan U19 in South Africa. He always used to take care of my bats and repair them for me. I lost my paternal grandmother when I was playing a match in Islamabad. I could not make in time for the final rituals, as I could not find a bus to Lahore.

“My journey has had its fair share of sacrifices. But, I am glad that I have a family that supports me. My mother bought me my first-ever cricket bat and gear, and I used that bat for good two to three years. My dad has been a great influence in my life. He tells me to be never complacent and that keeps me hungry and focused. My brothers always lend me support in tough times,” he said.

Babar said the most crucial bit in leading a team was to provide clarity to each and every player and have honest and open communication with the players.

“This breeds positivity in the team environment and brings everyone together as a team. As a captain, you have a kind of a dual responsibility because as a non-captain, you only focus on your field and bat-ting, but now you also have to run a team. I enjoy taking responsibility and it brings the best out of me,” he said.—APP