Captaincy not to affect my batting, says Babar Azam

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 24 (DNA) : Pakistani Skipper Babar Azam on Tuesday said burden of the captaincy would not affect his batting as he kept both things apart without any pressure.

Babar was recently named as the Test captain tasking him to lead the teams in all formats. The 26-year-old’s first assignment as Test skipper would be the ICC World Test Championship matches against New Zealand, to be played in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch from December 26-30 and January 3-7, respectively.

Babar also spoke about the burden of expectations from Pakistan fans  and said, “People have high expectations from me but this does not put me under pressure as I use it to build my confidence. Also, I don’t think burden of captaincy will affect my batting because I try to keep both things separate,” cricketpakistan.com.pk quoted him as saying.

The Lahore-born cricketer was confident about his team’s chances during the tour of New Zealand. “We are confident ahead of the series against New Zealand and hopefully we will put up a good show. Arriving in New Zealand, earlier than normal, will help us in acclimatising with the conditions and preparing adequately for the series.”

“We have a good record against New Zealand, both, home and away. Our team is performing well and there is a good combination of senior and junior players. We want to utilise this opportunity and make a solid team for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup,” he said.

The right-handed batsman also shed light on the different experience of bio-secure bubble in New Zealand, as compared with England, while also opening up on the mental stress associated with it.

“The bio-secure bubble is different in New Zealand as compared to England. The first three days will be tough as we won’t be allowed to leave our rooms and meet other players. But having said that we are getting used to it and won’ be facing any major difficulty,” he said.

“Yes, I agree that it (bio-bubble) can be a bit stressful at times because we are following the same routine every day. We miss the fact that we are not able to go for outings and shopping during the tours,” he said.

Azam also admitted that he has a say in selection matters. “I give my feedback in selection of the side because I’m the one who is supposed to lead the side on the field. I try to ensure that my input proves beneficial for the team.”

Babar also responded to criticism from former cricketers regarding his ability to finish matches and said that he was trying to improve this aspect of his game.

“I agree that when a player is set, he should finish the match. I wasn’t able to finish the match against Zimbabwe despite scoring hundred and I think we lost that match because of me. But I’m trying to improve this part of my batting, which was also evident in PSL, and hopefully in the future I won’t repeat the same mistake,” he said.