Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the national cricket team led by Babar Azam to play fearless cricket in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
On Wednesday, the 18-member squad, which will tour United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the mega event next month, met the PM at his office.
Pakistan will host international cricket soon: Imran Khan
PM Imran Khan boosted the player’s confidence and morale after the recent developments that have taken a toll on Pakistan cricket affairs.
According to Express-News, PM Imran urged the players to keep their spirits high ahead of the world cup despite the cancellation of New Zealand and England tours.
“Pakistan is a safe country. You should focus on improving your performances… God willing, Pakistan will host international cricket soon,” PM Imran was quoted as saying to the players.
PM Imran Khan told the players to play like cornered tigers by citing the example of his 1992 World Cup glory in Australia. Imran asked Pakistan captain Babar Azam to lead the team from the front.
“You must lead the team from the front, take everyone along and play like lions,” Imran told Babar.
Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill mentioned that Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja, during the meeting, told the players about Imran Khan’s achievement against India as a captain.
Ramiz said that Pakistan won 21 out of 22 matches against India under the captaincy of Imran Khan.
A little bit of caring was needed after New Zealand pull out: Ramiz Raja
Last week New Zealand men’s cricket team pulled out of Pakistan’s limited-overs tour just a few hours before the start of the game in Rawalpindi. The Blackcaps cited that their government officials received a threat regarding security alert.
On Monday, ECB too withdrew from both England’s men and women’s tours in October for the T20I series.
Ramiz Raja expressed his disappointment after both the teams abandoned the tour and said it felt like they were used.
“It’s the feeling of being used and then binned. That’s the feeling I have right now,” Ramiz Raja told reporters.
“A little bit of hand-holding, a little bit of caring was needed after New Zealand pull out and we didn’t get that from England which is so frustrating.
“We’ve been going out of our way to meet the international demands, being such a responsible member of the cricketing fraternity, and in return, we get a response from ECB saying the players were spooked by New Zealand’s withdrawal. What does that mean?” he added.
Pakistan are clubbed with India, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two more teams yet to be qualified in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage. Pakistan will face arch-rivals India in their first game on October 24 in Dubai.