Pakistan Cricket: Captain Babar Azam is rallying his team as they embark on a series of crucial matches leading up to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. With Pakistan’s first challenge being a three-match ODI series against Afghanistan in Sri Lanka starting from August 22nd, followed closely by the Asia Cup, the team’s preparation is in full swing. Babar Azam believes that Pakistan is riding a wave of strong momentum following their recent Test series victory in Sri Lanka.
Speaking to PCB Digital ahead of the Afghanistan series, Babar Azam conveyed his optimism and determination. He highlighted the team’s positive momentum gained from their Test series win and expressed eagerness to capitalize on it in the upcoming matches.
Babar Azam expressed enthusiasm over the inclusion of new faces in the team.
Pakistan’s squad for the series against Afghanistan comprises 18 players, including emerging talents such as Tayyab Tahir and the return of Faheem Ashraf. Saud Shakeel, who had a successful return in Test cricket, has also been included in the squad for the ODI series, providing him with an opportunity to shine in the shorter format.
Babar Azam expressed excitement about the inclusion of these new faces in the team. He highlighted the significance of having the entire squad united and motivated, especially as the team faces a critical three-month period of international cricket action.
With several key matches on the horizon, including the Asia Cup and the World Cup, Babar Azam’s leadership and confidence in his team’s abilities are setting the tone for Pakistan’s campaign in the coming months.
“Tayyab Tahir had a good [Emerging Teams] Asia Cup and he performed well here in Sri Lanka and everyone saw how Saud Shakeel played Tests here. I am especially impressed by how Saud has transformed into a modern-day batter in such a quick time.
"This is a great sign for Pakistan cricket that he groomed himself according to the demands of the team, and whenever anyone does that, I get very happy.”
While the Asia Cup and World Cup will be in focus, the Pakistan batter is only going to take it one series at a time and lauded Afghanistan's rise as a cricketing nation.
“We are focused in our preparations as we have big events in the Asia Cup and the World Cup coming up,” said Babar. "The Afghanistan team is on the rise and they have some good bowlers."
Babar also had a simple, yet powerful message for his team ahead of the busy season: "My message has always been to believe in yourself and make sure that you give your hundred percent in the field."