- Pakistan and India are scheduled to face each other on October 24
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said on Wednesday that he wants to commence the T20 World Cup 2021 campaign with a win against India, expressing confidence that the team would be able to break its poor run against the arch-rivals in ICC events.
Pakistan will look to register their first-ever win over the arch-rivals in an ICC World Cup – both T20 and 50-over editions – when the two sides meet in a high-intensity encounter in Dubai on October 24.
During a virtual press conference from Lahore’s National Cricket Academy (NCA), where the team has been preparing for the upcoming mega event, Babar said that the inaugural game against India would be crucial to set up the tone for the rest of the tournament.
“Our morale is high and we want to make a positive start to the tournament by winning the opening game against India,” Babar said, adding that a crucial first win will help improve the team's confidence.
The prolific batsman confirmed that he will open the innings with Mohammad Rizwan during the mega event, however, the decision is subject to change as per conditions.
“There are a lot of expectations from myself and Rizwan and so our target is to perform. I will open the innings with Rizwan during the World Cup but we can change our plans after looking at the conditions,” he said.
Discussing his strategy against India, Babar said the team has plans to handle the pressure in the nerve-wracking game. He said Pakistan could opt for two spinners, should the conditions demand.
The skipper threw weight behind his bowling lineup, and said he has full confidence in them. He termed Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, the two veteran all-rounders, as match winners and said that their experience will help the team on the field.
Earlier in the day, the Pakistan cricket team underwent testing for Covid-19. Those who report positive results will prolong their isolation and would require to return two negative PCR tests before the team’s departure scheduled on October 15.
The rest of the players will continue training for two more days before boarding the chartered flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Pakistan is scheduled to play India on October 24, followed by another high-intensity game against New Zealand two days later. The team will then play Afghanistan on October 29.