India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup match: Stay clam and keep nerves at bay, Babar Azam tells teammates ahead of India clash

India have lost only once to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup in seven meetings with their only defeat coming in 2021 when the Virat Kohli-led side lost by 10 wickets at the Super 12 stage.

Published - June 02, 2024 04:40 pm IST - New York

Pakistan captain Babar Azam advised his side to stay calm and stick to the basics during the much-awaited T20 World Cup clash against India on June 9.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam advised his side to stay calm and stick to the basics during the much-awaited T20 World Cup clash against India on June 9. | Photo Credit: AP

The hype, the expectations and the pressure around India-Pakistan games certainly makes players nervous, says Babar Azam who advised his side to stay calm and stick to basics during the much-awaited T20 World Cup clash, in New York on June 9.

India have lost only once to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup in seven meetings with their only defeat coming in 2021 when the Virat Kohli-led side lost by 10 wickets at the Super 12 stage.

"We know the Pakistan-India fixture generates more discussion than any other match. There is a different vibe altogether for this fixture, and there's a lot of excitement too not just among players but also among the fans," Babar said in a PCB podcast.

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"Wherever you go in the world, you'll have people talking about the India-Pakistan match with everyone supporting their country. Every fan eagerly waits for this fixture and focuses on this one particular match.

"Obviously, the expectations and the hype around this match causes some nervousness. It all comes down to how you handle it and the more you focus on the basics, the easier it will be for you as a player.

"It's a game of immense pressure, and if you keep your head cool, stay calm and trust your hard work and skills, things will be easier," Babar added.

The Pakistan skipper rued the missed chances in the 2022 edition.

"For me, in 2022, we could and should have won the India game, but they took it away. The most hurtful was the defeat against Zimbabwe. It hurts more because we had played good cricket against India and people were praising our performance and fightback," he recalled about their one-run defeat in a last ball thriller.

He further emphasised the importance of playing top cricket against every team, focusing on effort and positive mindset while acknowledging that results are uncertain.

"I am happy and excited because when you go to play in a major event, you have different excitement. It’s the aim of any cricketer to play in a World Cup, so that kind of feeling is coming over me. The hope is always to lift the trophy, but for that to happen, we have to play top cricket against every side.

"Effort is in our hands, but results, we do not know. How we present ourselves on the ground, our body language and how we communicate with each other will matter. We must be positive, so results will come." The 2009 champions, Pakistan have been the most consistent sides of the T20 global showpiece, having made six semi-finals in eight editions.

They finished runners-up in 2007 and in 2022, going down to England in the final of the previous edition.

"In the final, Shaheen’s injury was impactful because at that time, the pressure was on them (England). We were forced to give an over to a spinner and that made a difference.” "Our performances in the last two ICC Men’s T20 World Cups have been good. Unfortunately, we could not finish on a high. We were also runners-up in the ACC T20 Asia Cup 2022. So, at the back of our minds, we are thinking about how we have played two finals and a semi-final and how we can overcome the mistakes that derailed our campaigns," Babar said.

Babar said winning an ICC trophy is an ultimate dream.

"As a batter, I have achieved decently and, as a captain, I have won a few series. But lifting the ICC trophy is a different motivation. You go to a different level and get a lot of praise. So, the motivation, aspiration and dream remains to lift an ICC trophy and present it to Pakistan," he said.

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