Pakistan captain Babar Azam is confident that his team will beat arch-rivals India in their opening match of the T20 World Cup as he is more familiar with the conditions they have played in the UAE for most of the last three-four years.
Pakistan will take on India on 24 October at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. They are headed for the fixture on the back of an unbeaten record at the venue, having registered six T20I victories here.
“We have been playing cricket in the UAE for the last 3-4 years and we know the conditions very well,” the ICC quoted Azam as saying.
“We know how the wicket will behave and the batsmen will have to make adjustments. The day he plays better cricket wins the match. If you ask me, we will win.
The side made the UAE their home venue after international teams showed reluctance to tour Pakistan, citing security concerns, following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.
Pakistan has never won a World Cup match against India in both ODIs and T20Is, but Azam said that was a thing of the past.
“We know the pressure and high intensity of each game, especially the first one. Hopefully we will win the match and carry on the momentum.
“Your confidence and confidence as a group matters a lot before a tournament. Our confidence and morale as a team is really high. We are not thinking about the past but about the future. We are preparing for this.
“I am sure we are well prepared and will play good cricket that day,” he said.
Talking about his side which is a mix of youth and experience, Azam said, “All the players have entered the team after good home performances.”
“We have a lot to learn from the senior players of the team because they have so much experience, they have played World Cups and leagues before.
“7-8 players in our team have also played in the Champions Trophy, which brings a different amount of confidence.”
Pakistan will also have the services of former Australian opener Matthew Hayden and South African pacer Vernon Philander, who have been appointed as the team’s batting and bowling consultants respectively for the tournament.
“Hayden and Philander have a lot of experience. We will try to learn from them as much as we can and quickly. Boys have the ability to absorb and mingle quickly.
“You can see that Philander has already started working hard with the bowlers and you can see the past record, bowlers win you tournaments. Hasan Ali was our best bowler in the Champions Trophy. He will take the bowling line-up with him,” said Azam.
Pakistan will play their warm-up matches against West Indies on 18 October and South Africa on 20 October in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.