Kolkata: Ahead of the final league match against England at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has hit back on his critics questioning his captaincy methods and tactics. Babar believes his critics should message him personally with their advice and asserted there is no captaincy pressure.
The Men in Green face an improbable task of progressing to the semi-finals, needing to bat first and defeating England by 287 runs.
With Pakistan on the brink of elimination from the 2023 World Cup, the 29-year-old remains under intense pressure and criticism for the team's performances. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had also hinted at replacing Babar as the ODI captain following the showpiece event.
Speaking at a presser on Friday, Babar brushed aside the notion that criticism or captaincy has affected his performances and took a dig at his critics trying to offer him advice.
"I have been captaining for the last 3 years and I don't feel there has been any pressure on me. It's not that I or the team has not performed due to which people are saying there is pressure on me. I have been giving the same performance since I became the captain. These things happen and it's how one looks at it. Everyone has their own point of view, thinking. If someone has to give me advise then my phone number is available to all. It is easy to advise sitting on TV screens, better would be to message me personally. So, I don't feel there has been any pressure on me."
"It will be done according to a plan" - Babar Azam on achieving superior net run-rate
Babar asserted that the plan is to play aggressively against England, but will do so methodically.
"We would want to go all guns blazing but it will be done according to a plan. We have planned on how to play first 10 overs, then 20 over and build partnerships. I personally feel if Fakhar Zaman stays on the wicket for 20 or 30 overs, we would be able to achieve it. Then it would be followed up by Rizwan and Iftikhar."
England are 7th in the points table currently and must defeat Pakistan to assure themselves of direct qualification in the 2025 Champions Trophy.