Skipper Babar Azam has vowed that his team will not dwell on Pakistan’s poor record against archrival India when they meet in a high-octane Twenty20 World Cup match on Sunday in Dubai.
Pakistan has lost all seven World Cup (50 over) matches against India, as well as five Twenty20 World Cup games, and will begin as ‘underdogs.’
Babar exuded confidence, emphasizing that the past is irrelevant to his players.
“To be honest, what has happened is beyond us,” Babar said at a virtual media conference on Saturday, as both countries braced for a thrilling match.
“On the day of the match, we want to use our ability and confidence to achieve a better result.”
“Records are meant to be broken.”
The tickets for the match were sold out within hours of going on sale after the United Arab Emirate government relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions and allowed a 70% crowd for the Twenty20 World Cup matches.
As strained relations have stalled bilateral cricket since 2007, the South Asian nuclear rivals have only competed in multi-national events such as World Cups and the Champions Trophy.
Pakistan did tour India in 2012 for five limited-overs matches, but ties were not fully restored as the two countries remained at odds over a number of issues, including the disputed region of Kashmir and terrorism.
Babar has admitted that the match will be intense.
“Matches between Pakistan and India are always intense, so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game,” Babar said.
The Super 12 Stage matches begin on Saturday, with Australia taking on South Africa in Abu Dhabi and the West Indies facing England in Dubai in the evening match in Group 1.
The other two teams in the Group are Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Former champions India and Pakistan are in Group 2, along with New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia, who both qualified.
Babar announced a 12-man squad for the match, with hard-hitters Haider Ali and Asif Ali vying for a spot in the final eleven.
“The boys are excited to play in the World Cup, and we have a crucial match on Sunday,” said Babar, who will lead Pakistan in a senior World Cup match for the first time.
“A winning impact is required, and then we will take it one match at a time.”
Babar stated that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, who led the country to World Cup victory in 1992, had shared his experiences with the team.
“The Prime Minister met with us before our departure and shared his memories of the 1992 victory, as well as his advice to play aggressive and fearless cricket against India.”
Earlier this week, India defeated England and Australia in warm-up matches, while Pakistan defeated the West Indies but lost to South Africa.