The conference room in Karachi is a cosy little place, one that feels overcrowded when a high-profile press conference is imminent. There’s a flurry of activity as journalists scramble to get themselves to one of the black leather sofas, demand for which far outstrips supply. On a muggy September evening under the glare of the cameras, that effect is further amplified.
It came on the back of an indifferent Asia Cup where he managed just 68 runs in six innings. In characteristic Pakistan fashion, the criticism would snowball until questions began to be asked about his leadership, his batting position and even his role in the T20 side.
If Javed believed Babar was too defensive at the crease, it wasn’t how he came across when pressed for a response. “Well, if that’s his opinion, then fine, good for him,” Babar said, a hint of a smile breaking out across his face.
But the grin vanished as quickly as it had appeared. Babar fixed the cameras with an austere glare, his posture straightening and voice hardening. “Everyone has their own point of view but I only want to talk about the Pakistan team. People have their opinions but we don’t listen to them or care about what they say.
“Former players can of course air their opinions, but what’s disappointing is the personal attacks. Former players have been through it and know just how much pressure and responsibility there is upon us. I personally don’t bother about such statements. It makes no difference to me.”
“To come out of a bad patch, it’s best not to overthink and keep things simple. The main thing is to keep believing in yourself. I know I’ve done well in the past and will do well in the future”
Babar Azam on his form
The rest of the media engagement was replete with the platitudes anyone covering Pakistan cricket is well used to. Babar accepted the value of this series extended beyond its historic nature, keen to use it as a springboard for success leading up to next month’s T20 World Cup.
“This series is important to me personally, and I’ll try to get my form back,” he said. “To come out of a bad patch, it’s best not to overthink and keep things simple. The main thing is to keep believing in yourself. I know I’ve done well in the past and will do well in the future.
“Sometimes it’ll go well, and others not. People will talk regardless of how well you do, but it’s best to ignore all that.”
On the basis of those remarks, it appears Babar’s doing just that.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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