Forget the past in India match, Babar tells team

DUBAI: Despite winning 73 of the total 132 ODI games played against India, Pakistan have lost all seven World Cup clashes against archrivals as well as five games in the T20 World Cup and start their campaign on Sunday as “underdogs”.

But, exuding confidence, Captain Babar Azam stressed that the past is irrelevant to his players.

“To be honest, what has passed is beyond us,” he told a virtual media conference on Saturday, as both nations buzzed in anticipation of a thrilling match.

“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 tickets for the match were sold out within hours of going on sale after the United Arab Emirate government allowed a 70 percent crowd for the T20 World Cup matches in a relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions.

The nuclear rivals have only played in multi-national events like the World Cups and the Champions Trophy as strained relations have stalled bilateral cricket since 2008.

Pakistan did tour India in 2012 for five limited over matches but ties were not fully resumed as the two nations continued to be at loggerheads over multiple issues, with the disputed region of Kashmir heading the list.

Azam admitted it will be a match full of intensity.

“The matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game,” said Azam.

The second round matches — Super 12 Stage — start on Saturday with Australia taking on South Africa in Abu Dhabi while defending champions the West Indies face England in Dubai in the evening match in Group 1.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the other two teams in the Group.

Former champions India and Pakistan are placed in Group 2 along with New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland and Namibia, who both came through the qualifying stage.

Azam announced 12 for the match with hard-hitters Haider Ali and Asif Ali competing to make the final eleven.

“The boys are excited to play the World Cup and we have a crucial match on Sunday,” said Azam, who will be leading Pakistan for the first time in a senior World Cup match.

“A winning impact is necessary and then we will go match by match.”

Azam said the prime minister, Imran Khan — who led the country to victory in the 1992 World Cup — 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.”

Earlier this week, India won both their warm-up matches, beating England and Australia while Pakistan beat the West Indies but lost to South Africa.

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