LAHORE: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam looks confident of his squad and aims to win the ODI World Cup in India.
After an early exit from the Asia Cup 2023, losing to Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage of the tournament, Babar eyes another big tournament under his belt.
Talking to reporters during the pre-departure conference for the World Cup 2023 on Tuesday here, Babar looked assured when asked about whether they are envisioning finishing in the top four of the mega-event, to which Babar replied; "The top four is a small goal for us. We want to come out as winners. We did not have enough time to put together a camp before the World Cup because we had been playing for too long continuously. We wanted to give the players a break so they come back refreshed and hungry to win. You play well when you have that hunger."
Pakistan last visited India for the T20 World Cup in 2016. The arch-rivals only play each other in the Asia Cup and ICC tournaments due to the tense relations between the two countries.
"All of us are proud of traveling for the World Cup. Although we have not played in India before, we are not taking too much pressure. We have done our research and we have heard the conditions are similar to how they play out in other Asian countries. It is quite an honor for me to travel as the captain this time around, I hope we come back with a trophy this time.”
Babar also shed concern on Naseem Shah’s absence from the squad and, remained tight-lipped about disclosing who would be entrusted with the new-ball duties, highlighting the team's decision to keep their strategies undisclosed at this juncture.
"Of course, we will miss Naseem Shah as Shaheen [Afridi] and Naseem bowling together gave us a different edge. It was not easy to pick his replacement, but we all sat together and got input from [chief selector] Inzamam ul Haq. We went with Hasan Ali because he has experience. He has played the World Cup before," Babar said.
"I cannot comment on who will bowl the new ball or the old ball, as we cannot reveal our strategies right now. But we have not made any concrete plans right now, it will become more clear to us when we travel to India and assess the conditions," he added.
Aiming to put their best foot forward in the mega tournament, Pakistan is set to leave for India on Tuesday night, where they will play their first warm-up match against New Zealand on Friday, September 29 under closed doors in Hyderabad.