Babar Azam Leads Pakistan to T20 World Cup with New Zealand Challenge

Babar Azam's Triumph: NZ Challenge in T20 World Cup!

Babar Azam Leads Pakistan to T20 World Cup with New Zealand Challenge

Reappointed as the white-ball skipper, Babar Azam is gearing up to lead Pakistan for the third time at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. However, before the grand event, Pakistan is set to face New Zealand in a crucial home series starting Friday.

“This five-match T20I series is of great importance to us as it serves as a preparation for the all-important T20 World Cup,” Azam stated in the pre-series press conference.

“We are committed to preparing with great intensity. We have 12 matches before the World Cup. We had an excellent fitness camp in Kakul and are eager to perform as a unit,” he added.

Babar Azam in action

The Pakistan skipper was in top form, scoring an unbeaten 90 from just 59 deliveries in his side’s warm-up clash with Australia. While Azam hinted that the World Cup squad would largely consist of the same players, he emphasized that no one is guaranteed a place in the team.

Following the New Zealand series, Pakistan will also face Ireland and England ahead of the T20 World Cup. “Our focus is currently on the New Zealand series, but the World Cup squad will consist of mostly the same players. However, nothing is certain as there is still time,” Azam said.

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“Even after announcing the squad for the World Cup, no one is 100% sure of their place. We will strive to select the best team,” he added.

Pakistan Cricket Team

Azam expressed his satisfaction with the team’s blend of youth and experience, and was pleased to see new faces in the squad. “I am always happy to see new players being selected for the Pakistan Cricket Team based on their domestic performance. We try to mentor the youngsters and provide them with the necessary support,” he said.

The Pakistan captain did not disclose his batting position for the series. Although he has recently been batting at No.3 in T20Is, he did not rule out the possibility of moving up the order in the upcoming New Zealand series.

New Zealand vs Pakistan

Highlights from the warm-up match between New Zealand and Pakistan at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

New Zealand’s stand-in skipper Michael Bracewell expressed confidence in challenging Pakistan despite missing some key players. “We proved last year that we can compete against them. This will be a great challenge for us, getting used to the conditions here in Pakistan,” he said.

The five-game series begins in Rawalpindi on 18 April.

Pakistan Squad:

Babar Azam (c), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan.

New Zealand Squad:

Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Zak Foulkes.