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T20 World Cup: Pakistan captain Babar Azam counts on batters to come good against India

04:36 PM Oct 23, 2021 | PTI

Pakistan are not losing sleep over their poor record against India in the World Cup and are trying to stay calm and live in the present, skipper Babar Azam said in Dubai on Saturday. The two bitter foes may be sharing the fiercest of rivalries but Pakistan have never won against India at the biggest stage, losing all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups. The two teams will again lock horns in their opening games of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

"To be honest, we don't want to focus on the past. We are looking forward to this World Cup. We will focus on our strength, ability and apply that on the day," Babar said at the pre-match press conference.

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"It is important to keep things simple and stick to the basics. We will try to play good cricket and try to produce better results," the right-handed batter, who is on a high with two T20 centuries this year, added.

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The cross-border tension between the neighbours meant that the two teams don't get to play bilateral series with their last meeting being the 2019 ODI World Cup game in England.

Asked if he's having sleepless nights ahead of the big match, Babar said: "We have played many events, did well in the Champions Trophy. The more we keep it simple, the better it will be. It's about sticking to the basics and staying calm and relaxed."

"Our preparation is in our hands and we have given our 100 per cent. We hope to play good cricket on the day."

In a bold decision, the Pakistan skipper left out former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who led them to a Champions Trophy triumph beating India at The Oval in 2017, and has preferred veteran Shoaib Malik as he named a XII ahead of their opening clash.

"Sarfaraz is a good player of spin and has good confidence of playing against India. But we considered this would be our best XII for this match. Shoaib Malik also plays very well on the front foot and tackles spin very well. That's why we have opted for him. Of course, Sarfaraz will get his chance in the matches to come," the skipper said.

Pakistan come into the main draw with 10 wins in a row in the UAE and the 27-year-old said the mood in the camp is very positive.

"First game in a tournament is always crucial and we will hope to get a good start and carry forward the momentum. I've full confidence in our group and our team combination is going well. We will take it match by match."

"Over the years, pace may have been Pakistan's forte but Azam said that batting has been their main strength this time around."

"Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. Our team has always been bowling-dominated. Bowlers always win you matches and our bowlers too are in good shape and did well in the Champions Trophy."

"But this time, our main strength is our batting. They way our batters have been performing over the last couple of months, I am confident that they will perform in the game against India as well," he concluded.

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