Pakistan Captain Babar Azam Relies on Sri Lankan Familiarity Ahead of India Showdown
Pakistan’s cricket captain, Babar Azam, is optimistic about his team’s prospects in the upcoming Asia Cup Super 4 clash against arch-rivals India. Babar believes that Pakistan’s familiarity with Sri Lankan conditions, gained through recent cricketing engagements, will provide them with an advantage over their opponents. The Pakistan squad has been actively involved in various cricketing events in Sri Lanka, while India faced rain disruptions during their matches in the tournament.
India and Pakistan’s Experience in Sri Lanka
Several Pakistani players have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Sri Lankan conditions in recent months. This includes their participation in the Test series held in July, involvement in the Lanka Premier League, and bilateral ODIs against Afghanistan. These experiences have provided valuable insights into local conditions and pitch behavior, potentially giving Pakistan the upper hand in the upcoming Super 4 encounter.
In contrast, India’s Asia Cup matches have been marred by rain disruptions. During their opening encounter against Pakistan, only one innings was possible before rain interrupted play. Similarly, their match at the same venue saw overs reduced due to rain, leading to a revised target for India. These interruptions may have limited India’s exposure to Sri Lankan conditions, potentially putting them at a disadvantage.
Babar Azam’s Confidence
Babar Azam expressed his confidence in Pakistan’s readiness for the Super 4 clash, citing the team’s extensive experience in Sri Lanka. He emphasized that Pakistan had been consistently playing cricket in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka over the past two months. This includes a series against Afghanistan and participation in the Lanka Premier League, contributing to their familiarity with the conditions.
“We have been playing here in Sri Lanka for the past two months or so. We have played Tests, we played a series against Afghanistan, and then the LPL… So it can be said that we have an advantage,” stated Babar Azam during a pre-match press conference.
Challenges of Extensive Travel
Pakistan commenced their Super 4 campaign with a convincing seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh in Lahore. However, all remaining Super 4 stage matches are scheduled to take place in Colombo, where the threat of rain looms large. In light of a 90% precipitation forecast on the day of the India-Pakistan clash on September 10, the Asian Cricket Council has confirmed the provision of a reserve day.
Despite the advantage of familiarity with conditions, Pakistan’s players have had to contend with extensive travel between Pakistan and Sri Lanka for their matches. However, Babar Azam downplayed the travel challenges, emphasizing that the team had planned and managed their schedules well in advance.
“We always knew the schedule and how much we have to travel. So, it’s become important how we look after our players. We have planned everything well,” Babar Azam noted.
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