Windies Loss Deprive

LAHORE – Top performing middle order batsman Babar Azam has said that Pakistan’s defeat against the West Indies deprived us of reaching the ICC World Cup 2019 semifinals.

Addressing the press conference along with opener Imam-ul-Haq here at Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday, Babar Azam said: “This loss followed the team till our last group match and it was unfortunate that we out of last four on the basis of run rate despite being equal at points table with New Zealand with 11 points.

“We did well in the last four games and made a strong comeback by defeating New Zealand, South Africa, Afghanistan and Bangladesh prior to our morale boosting win over England, but it was not even enough to take us to the semifinals,” he added.

Babar accepted that he lost his wicket by playing a bad stroke in the match against Australia. “We should not have played in that manner against Australia and our shot selection was not up-to-the-mark.” But he was glad with his side’s performance against the hosts though. “England are one of the top-ranked teams but we performed really well against them,” he added.

About the rumours of grouping in the team, he dispelled the impression of grouping in the team. “There was no grouping in the team. When we lose a match, we start to hear about grouping in the team. We started hearing about grouping after the loss to India. It does not matter who the coach is, our job is to perform.”

Defending the presence of chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq during England tour, he said: “Presence and absence of the chief selector on tour does not affect the team’s performance. Whenever he has accompanied the team, he has always motivated the team. You cannot blame the chief selector for the team’s chaotic and shambolic performance in the World Cup.” Imam described the World Cup as a ‘good experience’. “We won five out of nine matches. Unfortunately, we could not qualify for the semi-finals due to net run rate. Like the rest of the country, we are also very upset but this is sport. “The tournament was good for me but I wanted to contribute more but that’s life. Everyone learns from their mistakes, and I will too,” he added.

When asked after Inzamam is removed as chief selector, what will be his cricketing future, the opener said: “My future can neither be told by myself nor by you; my future has been decided by the Almighty. If he wishes, I’ll remain in the team. My job is to keep on performing and the rest is up to board.”

When asked about World Cup favourites, Imam picked one of ‘England and India’ before singling it down to the hosts. “I feel England are slight favourites.”

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