We’re not frightened of Australia: Babar Azam ahead of second Test

Karachi: Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Friday brushed off suggestions that his team are afraid of Australia. Azam’s comments come ahead of second Test at National Stadium in Karachi starting from Saturday.

It also comes a day after the pitch for the drawn first Test at Rawalpindi was rated as ‘below average’ by ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle apart from being given one demerit point.

“We’re not frightened of Australia. The conditions are the same for both teams, and the World Test Championship points are very crucial. As a captain, I wanted us to win. The way our side dominated, we had batters score 150-plus and (bowlers) get wickets. So, there’s nothing to panic about. We dominated. We didn’t get a result, unfortunately, but that’s not in our hands. If all the overs that were lost due to rain were played, maybe we’d have a different result,” Azam was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

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Just like how opener Imam-ul-Haq defended the nature of Rawalpindi pitch, Azam too spoke in the same vein. Only 14 wickets fell across all five days of the Rawalpindi Test, ten of which were picked by Pakistan in Australia’s first innings while the visitors’ took only four wickets of the hosts’.

“The conditions here are not as they are in Australia. Every venue has different conditions that we utilise. You can’t just produce bouncy wickets or ‘Australia-style’ wickets; that’s not possible. We’ll go by our strength and try and win the match that way. Test match situations and pitches are different to ODIs; matches have to last five days. Later on, the spinners will get help.”

Azam admitted that facing debutant leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson will be walking into the unknown for Pakistan. “I haven’t seen much of him. We’ll watch videos of him and plan accordingly. We’ve started practice here; it’s quite hot and the conditions are different.”

“We have momentum with us; we dominated the first Test and had great individual and team performances. The batters batted well, the bowlers took ten wickets, and Nauman six. The overall team performance was good and we’re trying to take that momentum into this game.”

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