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I don’t need to satisfy or answer anyone: Babar Azam

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Ahead of the three-match ODI series with New Zealand, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam Sunday responded to the criticism directed towards his captaincy.

The 28-year-old captain spoke about being focused on winning matches for the country rather than paying heed to the criticism.

“My job is to play cricket and enjoy it. I don’t need to satisfy or answer anyone. I know what my game and responsibility are while batting or captaincy. I don’t need to make anyone happy, my job is to win matches for Pakistan,” Babar said while addressing a press conference in Karachi.

The skipper also remained tight-lipped on Pakistan’s playing XI for the first ODI match against the Kiwis which is set to take place on Monday, January 9.

“I have not looked at the pitch. We will decide on our playing XI after assessing it. We will try to field our best XI,” Babar said, adding that the team will try to continue their momentum in white-ball cricket.

The Pakistan skipper also stated that the selectors and team management are on the same page.

“The captain, coach and chief selector are on the same page because that’s important for the betterment of the team. We conveyed our opinion to the chief selector on the selection of players,” he said.

Pakistan have a chance to become the number one ODI team in the world during the upcoming series against New Zealand.

If Pakistan whitewash New Zealand 3-0 during the three-match series, they will jump to the number one spot in the rankings with 114 rating points.

The Men in Green are currently in fifth place with 107 rating points. Meanwhile, New Zealand are at the top of the table with 116 rating points.

If Pakistan win the ODIs against New Zealand, it will be their fourth series win in a row.

In their previous three ODI series, Pakistan have defeated Netherlands, West Indies and Australia.

Schedule

9 January – 1st ODI, Karachi

11 January – 2nd ODI, Karachi

13 January – 3rd ODI, Karachi

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WATCH: Babar Azam becomes youngest cricketer to receive Sitara-e-Imtiaz

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Thursday became the youngest cricketer to be conferred with the country’s third-highest civilian award Sitara-e-Imtiaz.  

Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar was conferred with the award by Governor Baligh Ur Rehman at an investiture ceremony held at the Punjab Governor House as part of Pakistan Day celebrations.

With the conferment of the award, Babar has become the youngest cricketer to be awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz at the age of 28 for his outstanding achievements in the field of sports.

The skipper called it an “immense honour” to receives the award in the presence of his parrents.

“This award is for my parents, fans and the people of Pakistan,” he tweeted. 

Previously, Babar’s predecessor Sarfaraz Ahmed held the record as the youngest cricketer to be awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

Sarfaraz, who led Pakistan to the Champions Trophy title in 2017, was conferred with the award by then Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair at the Governor House in Karachi in 2018.

Last year on August 14, the government announced that it will be conferring Babar with the country’s third-highest civilian honour.

Babar made his debut in international cricket in May 2015 against Zimbabwe. His performances eventually led debuts to T20Is and Tests in 2016. 

In 47 Tests, Babar has scored 3,696 runs with an average of 48.63, while in 95 ODI’s Babar has scored 4,813 runs at an average of 59.41. In 99 T20Is, Babar has amassed 3,355 runs at an average of 41.41. 

Babar, in his ongoing cricket career, has won multiple awards including ICC Men’s ODI Player of the Year,  Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. Under his captaincy, Pakistan defeated India for the first time in a world cup match and also reached the finals of the last T20 world cup.     

Apart from Babar and Sarfaraz other cricketers that have received the award include Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi for their outstanding contributions.

While Mohammad Yousuf received the award in 2011, Saeed Ajmal in 2015, Inzamam ul Haq in 2005 and Javed Miandad in 1992.

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‘Dirty politics’: Shaheen comes out in defence of Shahid Afridi

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Star pacer Shaheen Afridi has come out in defence of his father-in-law Shahid Afridi who has been dragged into “dirty politics” by a fake statement about former prime minister Imran Khan.

“I request you all to only think about Pakistan. We should not indulge ourselves into any act which divides us further,” the Pakistani cricketer said in a statement, sharing a video statement of Shahid Afridi.

“Hum Sab ko apni apni fields me positive reh ker Pakistan ka haq Ada kerna hoga. Pakistan Noor hai or Allah pak is Noor Ki Hamesha hifazat farmayain ge, Ameen.”

Earlier, in a hard-hitting video statement, the former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi slammed those dragging him in their “dirty politics”.

“I am observing since yesterday that a statement is being shared on social media under my name about former prime minister Imran Khan is very sad news. Whoever is doing this, is indulging in very dirty politics. Neither I want to be part of this activity nor I am involved in this.”

The former chief selector, in a visibly angry mood, said that he had the courage to say whatever he wants to say.

“I never made any such statement anywhere on my social media. So please don’t involve me in this dirty politics. Aap ko apki siasat mubarak ho. My only politics is to serve this nation.”

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Pak vs NZ: PCB revises schedule of New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday revised the schedule of the limited-overs tour of New Zealand to Pakistan due to “elections in Punjab”. 

The Blackcaps are scheduled to play five ODIs and five T20Is with the PCB and New Zealand Cricket “unanimously” agreeing to make “tweaks” to the tour, the board said in a statement today.

According to sources, the itinerary was changed due to the upcoming general elections in Punjab scheduled on April 30.

As per the new schedule, New Zealand will arrive in Lahore and play three T20Is from April 14-17, before traveling to Rawalpindi where the final two T20Is and first ODI will be played from April 20-26. 

The tour will end in Karachi with the remaining four ODIs to be played from April 30-May 7.

The PCB said that this is an additional tour by the New Zealand cricket team and the matches will count towards ICC Team Rankings.

The ODIs will also help Pakistan to prepare their side for the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, while the T20I will assist the PCB to continue with their rebuilding of the side for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which will be held in the USA and West Indies in June/July 2024.

Revised schedule:

  • April 14 – 1st T20I, Lahore
  • April 15– 2nd T20I, Lahore
  • April 17– 3rd T20I, Lahore
  • April 20– 4th T20I, Rawalpindi
  • April 24– 5th T20I, Rawalpindi
  • April 26– 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
  • April 30– 2nd ODI, Karachi
  • May 3 – 3rd ODI, Karachi
  • May 5 – 4th ODI, Karachi
  • May 7 – 5th ODI, Karachi

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