Babar Azam refuses to buy into Proteas' naivete

Web Desk
Babar Azam addresses an online presser in Karachi.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has refused to buy the argument that the touring South Africa team will be at a disadvantage in the upcoming Test series due to not having played in Pakistan before.

The Proteas, who are back in Pakistan after 14 years, have made it clear in their week-long interactions with the media that they have no idea what they are going to encounter on pitches in Pakistan. 

Azam disagrees.

"I think they do not have any youngsters," he said in an online press conference from Karachi, where the first Test begins Tuesday. "Their entire team is made of seniors. They know the Asian conditions well. They have been playing in India. I think they have the awareness [of conditions here]." 

He did however, talk up his team's strength.

"They are a top side and of course we cannot take them lightly at any moment but we are also at full strength," said Azam. "The conditions, too, suit us and all our players are familiar to what they're gonna get."

Pakistan does not have a good record against South Africa but the incumbent captain did not dwell on it too much.

"Let's not think about the past," he said. "We do not have to do anything with whatever happened in the past. Of course, it (the past) is there but we have worked hard and will give our hundred per cent." 

Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq recently said that the captain should be given a freehand in picking the playing eleven. Regarding that, Azam said: "You cannot pick a team without the coach. Everyone sends their input. 

"We make the eleven that is the best for Pakistan. The coach's input is also taken but of course the final decision is indeed mine." 

Azam remained coy on what opening combination Pakistan would go with, refusing to say if Imran Butt or Azhar Ali would partner Abid Ali in the absence of Shan Masood, who was dropped due to poor form.

The skipper also denied that Pakistan were a one-man team that relied solely on his contributions.

Aggression is needed at times but off the field, not on it. On the field, you need to back the plan given to the players. Of course, at times things don't go according to plan but then you keep backing the boys. Showing aggression on the field does not look good - even on TV. 

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