Babar Azam missing Pakistani fans but feels ‘at home’ in Hyderabad

Babar said his squad was excited to play against India on October 14 here at the world's largest cricket stadium.

Ahmedabad: Overwhelmed with hospitality since arriving in India, Babar Azam is completely feeling “at home” in Hyderabad but didn’t forget to add that Pakistan cricket fans have been missed amid their build-up for the World Cup.

The Babar-led Pakistan side has been based in Hyderabad where they played two warm-up matches and will take on New Zealand on October 6 in their tournament-opener.

A few days ago, PTI reported that the Pakistan Cricket Board has written to the ICC seeking prompt action on the visa process for its fans and media.

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“I think the hospitality was quite nice. We were not expecting this, but I think the way people are responding towards our team, everyone (has) enjoyed it,” Babar told the media here during ICC’s Captain’s Day event.

“We are (here since) a week in Hyderabad, so it is not like we are in India, (but) it (feels) like we are (at) home. We are enjoying (it) and I think it is a golden opportunity for everyone to give their 100 per cent and enjoy the tournament,” Babar added.

Babar said it would have been nice to see fans from Pakistan among the Hyderabad crowd.

“Since we came to Hyderabad, the hospitality we got, the way people welcomed us, from the airport to the hotel, the crowd in the ground and in the last match, we liked it a lot,” he said.

“It would have been better if we had fans from our side. We will try to get such support in every match, in every stadium, in every match,” he said.

The Pakistan captain said despite the absence of right-arm fast bowler Naseem Shah, bowling remains his team’s greatest strength.

“I think our strength is bowling. But as we know, we are playing (for the) last three years together. Most of the boys are the same. I think our strength is bowling,” he said.

Babar said his squad was excited to play against India on October 14 here at the world’s largest cricket stadium.

“Yes, we are very excited because we have come here for the first time,” he said.

“Before the 14th match, we have two matches. We are trying to go match-to-match and focus on each day. At the same time, we are excited about India and Pakistan as it is always a big match, so everyone is waiting for that match,” Babar added.

It has been many years since Pakistan players featured in the IPL as teams look to use their players’ knowledge and understanding of the conditions going into the World Cup. Babar said Pakistan players are under no pressure in such a scenario.

“I think there is no pressure, the conditions here are similar to Pakistan and Asian conditions. It’s been one week for us and we’ve played some practice and warm up matches, there is no difference,” he said.

“The boundaries are small. There is no margin for the bowlers. If the bowler is a little bit off, the batsman utilises it. There will be high scores,” Babar added.

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