PAK vs IND: Babar Azam says, 'Logo ne India mey bahut pyar diyaBabar Azam says,' after his World Cup 2023 visit in India
Express photo by Partha Paul.

PAK vs IND: Pakistan white-ball skipper Babar Azam has reflected upon his experience in India during the last ODI World Cup in 2023. He threw light on his maiden stint in India during the World Cup event, held in October-November last year. Babar, who was leading the side back then, said he didn’t expect Indian people to welcome them, but was surprised by the hospitality.

During his conversation on Zalmi TV, Babar Azam recently revealed that he didn’t expect fans to cheer for him in India during their matches. He said, “Mai India se expect nahi kar raha tha (I was not expecting it from India).”

Mai bilkul nahi expect kar raha tha. Mai first time ja raha tha Indian mujhe wahaan ka koi knowledge nahi tha (I was not expecting it at all. It was my first time in India and I had no knowledge about the country).”

Notably, Pakistan’s national side got a good cheering crowd during their matches in Hyderabad in the World Cup 2023. The team got decent support from the fans in the airports as well.

Maine baat ki thi wahaan ke conditions and all lekin jab hum wahaan utre aur jaisa unhone welcome diya wo outstanding tha (I have spoken to people about the playing condition and all but the welcome we’re given at Hyderabad airport was outstanding),” he said.

Wo ek alag experience tha. Unka pyar tha, logo ne bahut pyar diya humey, bahut appreciate kiya (It was a different experience. It was their love, Indian people gave us so much love, they appreciated our cricket).

He revealed that Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium was packed with the crowd even for their practice matches during the World Cup event.

Humare practice matches mey log aaye yaar, pura stadium packed tha. Hyderabad mey pura stadium packed tha (Even in our practice games, people were cheerring for us. The entire stadium in Hyderabad was jam packed,” he said.

Speaking about his experience playing at the World’s biggest stadium against India, Babar Azam said, “It was a different vibe.”

PAK vs IND: Babar Azam says, 'Logo ne India mey bahut pyar diyaBabar Azam says,' after his World Cup 2023 visit in India
Image: Associated Press

Notably, the India vs Pakistan fixture was held at the Narendra Modi Stadium on October 14. The stadium with a capacity of over 100,000 people was jam-packed with a sea of blue roaring against Pakistan.

The Rohit Sharma-led Indian side convincingly defeated Pakistan in that contest by 7 wickets. Indian pace ace Jasprit Bumrah remained the key architect of that win, followed by a brilliant show by the Indian batters.

Pakistan’s stay in India was cut short owing to their awful run in the World Cup 2023. The Men in Green, who had come up with the hopes of lifting the World Cup title on Indian soil, couldn’t even qualify for the playoffs of the tournament.

Babar Azam and Co managed just four wins in nine matches and were left stranded in the fifth position in the World Cup points table at the end of the group stages.

Pakistan’s ambitions to lift the World Cup glory will once again rise as we inch closer to the T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and the USA. In their bid to prepare for the event, Pakistan had recently conducted comprehensive fitness training for their key players in collaboration with the Army Training School in Kakul.

Moreover, Pakistan has also re-appointed Babar Azam as the captain of the white-ball side, replacing Shaheen Shah Afridi, who unfortunately, couldn’t keep hold of the leadership for more than one T20I series.

ALSO READ: IPL 2024: Lucknow’s 157 KMPH pacer Mayank Yadav INJURED, Krunal Pandya provides update