Pakistan skipper Babar Azam will begin his reign as the all-format captain in the upcoming tour of New Zealand. Pakistan are scheduled to tour New Zealand in two Tests and three T20 internationals in December. The last time the men in green visited the Trans-Tasman nation was in 2018. Pakistan A team will also visit the nation for two four-day games and a few T20 matches. Meanwhile, Babar Azam dismissed any rumours of disharmony in their dressing room.
Babar Azam became the T20 captain, replacing Sarfaraz Ahmed in late 2019 and took charge of the One-day team in May, beginning his reign recently in the home series against Zimbabwe. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed Babar as the leader of the Test side, sacking Azhar Ali from the position. The 36-year old could not provide satisfying results for the red-ball side, suffering series losses in Australia and England.
Babar Azam pointed out that this is a young team and confidently dismissed any prospect of disharmony within them. The 25-year old stated that the team is one and that everyone respects each other’s performances. There is no belittling anyone within the side.
“This is a young team and there is no disharmony or groupings in our dressing room. The team is one. Every player respects and backs the other player and takes pride in their performances. No leg pulling in our team,” the skipper stated as quoted by News Indian Express.
The star batsman highlighted that pressure was always there on him to perform right from when he arrived in the team. He underlined facing challenges every day as a cricketer and is looking forward to the prospect of scoring runs along with the pressure of captaincy. Azam also revealed in relishing playing under pressure and challenging situations abroad, knowing the team heavily relies on him.
“I have always played with pressure. When I came into Pakistan team early on there was pressure on me to perform. We have to face challenges every day. Now there is a new challenge and responsibility and I will try to use my experience from white ball cricket. I try to enjoy myself as a batsman and I enjoy challenging situations. I know the team relies on me and I enjoy playing under pressure, especially abroad,” Babar mentioned.
Whatever I have learnt and what they taught me : Babar Azam
The Lahore-born cricketer added that whatever learnings he has, it is from Azhar Ali and Sarfaraz Ahmed and also take advices from them whenever required. The 25-year old claimed that he would apply all those lessons during his tenure as a captain; however, the decisions will be independent as per his mindset.
“I take advice from seniors and have learnt a lot from Saifi (Sarfaraz) and even Azhar (Ali). Whatever I have learnt and what they taught me, I am trying to apply those things and if need arises I will talk to them but in the end I will take independent decisions according to my mind-set,” the 25-year old further said.
Babar Azam also said that they are excited for the tour of New Zealand, where they have performed well against the hosts and remain confident of doing so. The right-handed batsman will try his best to support the players undergoing struggles and who dearly need the same. He feels that as a leader, one needs to show faith in their players to be able to develop confidence for themselves.
“We are going to New Zealand after having played a lot of cricket and we are excited as a team because we know our worth. We know that we have always performed well against New Zealand be it in New Zealand or anywhere else. My main aim is to back and support my players. Especially those who are not performing well because they need the backing most. As a captain you have to show confidence in your players and back them only then they develop the confidence to do well,” he added.