NEW DELHI: Under-fire skipper Babar Azam hasn’t thrown the towel in yet as he has plans in place as Pakistan chase ODI World Cup semi-final dream when they take on England in their last league match in Kolkata on Saturday.
Pakistan have a daunting task at their hands as they need to defeat the already-eliminated defending champions England by at least 287 runs to knock out New Zealand as the fourth and last semi-finalist on net run rate.
Babar remains optimistic and has emphasised that his team has not given up hope of securing victory over England, despite the substantial margin required.
“It’s not like this matter is not in the back of the mind. It’s in our mind and we will try to do it,” said Babar at the pre-match presser on Friday.
“But we can’t just go in and start firing blindly – we want that but with proper planning, how we want to play the first 10 overs, then the next 20 – how we have to achieve that target.
“There are a lot of things in this, like partnerships, which player will stay on the pitch for how long. I would say if Fakhar is in the match for 20 or 30 overs, we can achieve that. We can do this and we have planned for this,” Babar added.
Pakistan’s track record against England, especially in terms of high scores and significant victories, have its own set of limitations. Their highest total against England, 361, was achieved in 2019 at Southampton. Additionally, the biggest victory margin Pakistan have held over England is 108 runs, dating back 22 years.
ICC World Cup 2023: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka, are almost through to the semifinals
When asked about his failure as a leader of the team, Babar, who has made 282 runs at the tournament with an average of just over 40 and four fifties, hit back at critics stating that he is not under any pressure whatsoever and it is easy to give advice on TV.
“I have not performed the way I should have in the World Cup, that’s why people are saying that I am under pressure. I am under no pressure,” insisted the 29-year-old.
“Everyone has their own point of view, their own way of thinking. Everyone is saying something different. He should be like this, or like that.
“If someone has to give me advice, everyone has my number. It is easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me some advice, you can message me.”