Pakistan, on Tuesday, September 26th, received their visas and are now well on their way to India for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023. Ahead of their departure first to Dubai and then to Hyderabad, skipper Babar Azam addressed a press conference.
Babar Azam was bombarded with a range of tough questions, including an inquiry about Pakistan’s longstanding spin-related challenges. Babar appeared well-prepared, handling reporters’ tricky questions with a calm demeanour, as if he’s been in such situations before.
One of those reporters asked the Pakistan captain about the quality of their spinners, to which, Babar Azam replied:
“Sir [spinners] acche nahi hai to bata dein kaun se ache hai [If they’re not good then tell me who all are good]. It’s not like that, you’re looking at it from your point of view, you feel that they’re not good. But for me they’re my best players and my best spinners.”
“We start judging them very quickly, I agree they haven’t been at their best in recent times but it doesn’t mean they’re not good. They’re good, that’s why they’re playing for Pakistan. I have full faith in them that they will perform well in the World Cup.”
After a lacklustre performance in the 2023 Asia Cup, there were rumours circulating that Shadab Khan might not make it to the World Cup squad. However, those speculations have been put to rest as he has secured his spot as one of the three spinners in the 15-member World Cup squad.
We will miss him a lot: Babar Azam
One area of concern for Team Pakistan is the absence of their third seamer, as Naseem Shah has been ruled out of the 2023 World Cup due to a shoulder injury. Hasan Ali has been called up as his replacement, but questions loom over his form, considering his prolonged absence from the Pakistan team.
Here’s what Babar Azam said on Naseem Shah:
“Surely, we will miss him a lot. He was bowling with the new ball in three formats and the duo of Shaheen and Naseem together gave a different vibe. Unfortunately, we will miss him. We chose to replace him with the best availability we had. It was difficult. We had a long discussion with coach Mickey Arthur and Inzy Bhai and chose Hasan Ali because he has a lot of experience of playing in World Cups.”
Pakistan’s ICC World Cup Squad 2023:
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim