Captain Babar Azam believes Pakistan’s “dominant” one-day series win against New Zealand has put them in a strong position for the World Cup, despite lingering doubts about their participation.
Hosts achieved a 4-1 victory over a depleted New Zealand in the five-match series, briefly reaching the top of the one-day rankings for the first time.
In the post-match press conference following the fifth ODI, Babar expressed uncertainty about his captaincy future. He stated that he has not received any information regarding his continuation as captain until the upcoming World Cup, which is scheduled for later this year.
Babar stated, “I have not been informed about this.” Initially appointed as captain until the New Zealand series by PCB management committee chairman Najam Sethi, media reports suggest Babar is likely to retain captaincy until the 2023 World Cup. However, uncertainties persist over Pakistan’s participation in the tournament due to tensions with hosts India.
“The series win and securing the number one ranking is fantastic, putting us in a strong position for the World Cup,” stated the skipper. When asked about the uncertainty, Babar Azam replied, “We can’t say anything about that, but wherever we get a chance to play, we will play.”
Azam rejected the notion that New Zealand’s weakened team, missing eight of their top players due to IPL commitments, made them easy to defeat. He emphasized, “You don’t play an international team thinking that they are a junior team.”
“We gave 100 percent to secure victory against an international team, and we played better and dominated,” Babar Azam remarked. Pakistan claimed victory in the first two matches by five and seven wickets in Rawalpindi, followed by triumphs of 26 and 102 runs in Karachi. New Zealand managed to win the final game by 47 runs, also held in Karachi.
Stand-in New Zealand skipper Tim Latham found the series useful despite the outcomes, stating that it provided players with the chance to adapt to different roles and gain experience in the conditions. New Zealand is concerned about the fitness of regular captain Kane Williamson, who sustained a knee injury during the IPL and is expected to miss the World Cup. Having been runners-up in the last two World Cups, in 2015 and 2019, New Zealand aims to make a strong showing in the upcoming tournament.
This is published in logicalbaat, on 09 May, 2023.