T20 World Cup : Babar Azam banking on Haris Rauf’s knowledge of MCG conditions ahead of opener against India

Melbourne : Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he was banking on the knowledge of conditions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) given by his right-arm pacer Haris Rauf ahead of their Men’s T20 World Cup Super 12 opener against India on Sunday.

Rauf is perceived as a huge threat to the Indian team apart from left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who wreaked havoc when the two teams met last time in the T20 World Cup. Rauf comes with a reputation of being extremely quick and skiddy apart from the MCG being his home ground since signing up for Melbourne Stars in the 2019/20 season of the Big Bash League (BBL).

He enters into Sunday’s marquee clash full of confidence and with good form behind him.”Haris Rauf knows these conditions well as the MCG is his home ground at the Big Bash League (while playing for Melbourne Stars).

He’s passed on some very useful information to batters as well as bowlers regarding the conditions here.””As a bowler, the way he’s leading and improving, he didn’t make us feel the absence of Shaheen (Shah Afridi) by stepping up and doing the job for Pakistan in every situation.

We will get a lot of help from it,” said Azam in the pre-match press conference.Azam further updated on the fitness status of left-handed batters Shan Masood, who was hit on the head during a practice session on Friday, and Fakhar Zaman, who was drafted into the 15-man squad after recovering from a knee injury.

“Shan Masood is fine and has recovered from his injury. Whatever has been his tests, they all have come out fine. He’s ready for tomorrow’s match if needed, but we have not selected our final team yet as the pitch has been covered for the last two days and we will decide on the eleven once we see the pitch.

Fakhar Zaman hasn’t fully recovered yet. It will take him 1-2 days more to be fully fit, but his recovery is going very well. He is not available for the match against India.”Asked about rain being a threat for Sunday’s match, Azam remarked, “Weather is not in our hands, it is in God’s hands.

Whatever the overs or situation happen in the match, you have to be ready for every situation as a professional and we are ready for it. We will try that on the day, we will give our hundred percent effort to our plans.

Result is not in our hands, we have effort in our hands.”Azam cited his spin twins, leg-spinner Shadab Khan and left-arm spinner, Mohammad Nawaz, as key factors with the bat, having done well for the side whenever they were given a promotion in the batting order.

“The way we use Shadab and Nawaz in higher positions in the batting order, they are playing their roles well. They are key factors for us in the way they execute their games and plans with a free mind while playing, which is a very big plus for us on the grounds which are big.

With big shots not being executed much, getting runs via running between the wickets will be crucial too.”With the match happening 364 days after Pakistan defeated India by ten wickets in their 2021 T20 World Cup opener in Dubai, Azam signed off by saying that no opposition will be taken lightly and that executing well-made plans will be crucial for them.

“Challenge is there in every match as you cannot take any team lightly, especially in a T20 game where the game runs fast and decisions have to be taken quickly in a short time. A match can go either way and change in an over or through a catch or run-out as well as a small partnership.

It is a short game and more positive you are, work hard and be positive about it, the better it is for you.””See, we have a plan made for every player and try to execute whatever we have planned on the given day.

We will try to give our hundred percent execution to the planning we have done and then we will see what happens tomorrow in the match. The endeavour in our team is to talk about every player as any player can be in the playing eleven. We plan against every player, and bowler and then focus on the things we have.”



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