Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has reflected that his troops will need to get over their World Cup semi-final defeat when they face Bangladesh in a three-match T20I series. The 27-year-old has backed his team to keep the momentum going that they got from the just-ended T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Pakistan was in a red-hot form during the Super 12s, enduring a 100% win record. However, they were knocked out by ultimate champions Australia in the semi-final. Following their World Cup campaign, the Men in Green are scheduled to play a three-match away T20I series, which will be succeeded by a two-match Test series against Bangladesh.
Ahead of their opening game, which will begin tomorrow (November 19), Babar Azam acknowledged disappointing to fall short in the World Cup. Nonetheless, the opener stated that his side has enough confidence and faith among themselves to do well in Bangladesh. Azam said:
"The World Cup is in the past and we need to move on from it and move forward looking into the future and keeping the momentum that we've gathered. Certainly, it was disappointing to lose in the World Cup and the whole team got hurt."
"We have discussed our mistakes and the whole team is confident and we have full faith among ourselves. I have tried not to break the momentum that we got from the World Cup and look, this is the time when we need to back our cricketers."
Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, will host all three T20s, starting from November 19, with the next two fixtures on Saturday (November 20) and Monday (November 22). Following three T20s, both Asian teams will move to Chittagong for the first Test on November 26-30 before returning to Dhaka for the second and final Test on December 4-8.
We cannot take the Bangladesh team lightly, they are seasoned cricketers: Babar Azam
The Pakistani captain also suggested that his side will not take the Mahmullah-led Bangladesh side lightly. Azam opined that Bangladeshi players are 'seasoned cricketers' and will also have the home advantage on their side.
Bangladesh endured an absolutely abysmal run in the Super 12 stages of the tournament. Mahmudullah and his boys lost all their five matches in the Super 12 stages and finished in last place in the points table in Group 1. However, in their last two T20I series at home, the Tigers have steamrolled past Australia and New Zealand.
While citing the fact that Bangladesh is missing a few big names from their squad, Azam claimed it will be an easy task for Pakistan. He said:
''You cannot keep aside the momentum that we got and rest the main players. There are Test matches as well and it is their (Bangladesh) home series so you cannot take them easy though they are missing a couple of their key players. They are seasoned cricketers and they play in the BPL so we cannot take them easily.''
Earlier today Pakistan named their 12-member squad for the first T20I tomorrow.
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Pakistan 12-member squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf Hasan Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shoaib Malik