Pak vs India: Babar Azam shortlists 12-man squad for Sunday's World Cup blockbuster

Published October 23, 2021
In this file photo, Pakistan cricket T20 captain Babar Azam addresses a press conference in Lahore. — Photo: AFP/File
In this file photo, Pakistan cricket T20 captain Babar Azam addresses a press conference in Lahore. — Photo: AFP/File

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has announced a 12-man squad for Sunday's T20 World Cup 2021 clash with India in Dubai.

Addressing a press conference in Dubai on Saturday, Azam named the shortlisted dozen men, from whom the final playing eleven will be picked.

From the 15-man complete squad, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Mohammad Nawaz and Sarfaraz Ahmed did not make the cut.

The 12 men who remain in contention are Babar Azam (c) Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan (vc), Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.

Azam vowed his team would not think about Pakistan's poor record against India when they meet. Exuding confidence, Azam stressed that the past is irrelevant to his players.

“To be honest, what has passed is beyond us,” Azam said during the press conference.

“We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result. Records are meant to be broken."

The captain admitted it would be a match full of intensity, saying that "the matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game."

“The boys are excited to play the World Cup and we have a crucial match on Sunday. A winning impact is necessary and then we will go match by match,” he added.

The captain also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had shared his experiences with the team.

“The prime minister met us before our departure and shared his experiences of the 1992 win and told us to play aggressive and fearless cricket against India.”

'Pakistani team is strong'

India captain Virat Kohli, however, did not announce the team for Sunday's match.

He said the Pakistani team was strong and had always been a strong team. "We will have to play our best cricket to beat Pakistan," Kohli added.

The Indian captain said the team did not think about past records or what had happened in prior World Cup matches between the two countries.

He also spoke about the Covid-19 standard operating procedures in place and said the bio-secure bubble was a "genuine issue".

"[We] realise that cricket has not been played for a long time but players' [health] is very important."

Kohli said that there should be consideration for the players as well in future cricket events.

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