Pakistan captain Babar Azam: – UAE, is like a home event. Confidence or over confidence?
The Pakistan team has been seeing a bit of a revival of late and even though their win loss record may not inspire the best confidence, there is certainly a spring in their step these days. The main reason for the spring in their step is the form of their captain Babar Azam.
Babar Azam takes his game to an absolute next level when he plays in the T20 format of the game. He averages close to 47 in the T20 game. As if his consistency wasn’t enough, he has a strike rate of close to 130 to go with it and that is why he would probably one of the players who the world has its eye on when the T20 world cup begins in October. The World Cup 2021 is going to take place in UAE and UAE according to a recent statement by Babar Azam is like a home ground for UAE.
Now this is an audacious statement but it certainly isn’t one which is frivolous and comes without statistics. There was a time when he burst on to the scene where he scored 5 centuries back-to-back in the UAE.
For many years, UAE was the home of Pakistan Cricket when due to geo-political issues, cricket was not taking place in Pakistan. Babar and the rest of the Pakistani team has played most of their cricket in UAE before until very recently when cricket resumed in Pakistan.
Pakistan in recent times were almost unassailable in the T20 game in UAE as they have won their last 5 series at home in UAE and have not lost a game in the process. They beat New Zealand in in the 2018/19 season by 3 -0 margin and also beat Australia by the same margin earlier in the year. This after in the previous few seasons, Sri Lanka, West Indies and England had also fallen to the deemed hosts.
Babar Azam has all reasons to be convinced that this is going to be the team that is going to beat India in an IND vs PAK ICC tournament game. Clearly Babar is going to become a cult hero in his home country if he can manage that.
It would be unfair to say that the Indian team doesn’t have enough experience on the UAE pitches with them playing the IPL on the UAE pitches for the past couple of seasons. Players like Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and other Indian superstars have had good records there too in the domestic competition.
However, it is clear that Pakistan is definitely going to start as favourites in that game. The reason being their familiarity with these conditions. There are players such as Mohammad Rizwan have risen out of nowhere and made a huge impact in the cricket world. Rizwan has been the one anchor to Babar’s team as a batsman and as a partner who has kept the team rolling through the difficult situations.
There are other factors too such as the pace and guile of Shaheen Shah Afridi and the aggression and unabashed behavior of Hasan Ali when he comes to bowl. They bat deep too and with the likes of Hasan Ali coming deep into the tail, they have a lot of reasons to be positive in their game against India. Who could forget the likes of Fakhar Zaman who has been a thorn in India’s flesh off late. Things may well change this time around and India may be handed their first ever loss at a world cup to their arch rivals.