'Top-4 is low...': Babar's uber-confident reply on experts' prediction on PAK's WC fate, says 'we will become No. 1'
Babar has his eyes on the bigger prize, with the aim to emulate what the Imran Khan-led side had achieved in 1992.
After overcoming their last-minute visa issue, the Pakistan cricket team are all set to arrive in India for the 2023 ODI World Cup, which will begin from October 5 onwards in Ahmedabad. This will be their first cricketing assignment in the neighbouring country since the 2016 T20 World Cup, where they had suffered a group-stage exit after finishing fourth with a solitary win in four games, and first travel to India for an ODI contest since 2012, when the two arch-rivals had last played a bilateral series with the visitors winning the 50-over contest. And while the expectations are high from the Babar Azam-led side, with most experts having made their predictions, the captain responded to those remarks in uber-confident fashion.
Only two members of the present Pakistan side have played in India before - Mohammad Nawaz and Agha Salman. However, the remainder of the squad, including skipper Babar have no experience of playing in India.
"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," said Babar in the pre-departure media conference in Lahore. "It is quite an honour for me to travel as the captain this time around, I hope we come back with a trophy this time."
Despite the lack of experience in Indian conditions, most veteran cricketers, the most recent being South Africa's Hashim Amla, have predicted that Pakistan will make the top four in the 2023 World Cup. But Babar has his eyes on the bigger prize, with the aim to emulate what the Imran Khan-led side had achieved in 1992.
When made aware of the predictions, Babar smiled and confidently replied saying: "The top-four is a small goal for us. We will become No. 1. 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 with the hunger to win. You play well when you have that hunger."
Pakistan will begin their World Cup campaign on October 6 against Netherlands. Prior to that, they will play two warm-up games in Hyderabad on September 29 and October 3.
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