‘Inconsistent’ Babar Azam toils hard at nets; Shadab Khan set for return | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s preparations for the crucial World Cup match against England in Kolkata showcased the team’s focused training session. All-rounder Shadab Khan, recuperating from a concussion, appeared geared for a comeback. The team’s skipper, Babar Azam, sought to make a significant impact in the tournament.
After a two-day break in Kolkata, the Pakistani squad engaged in an extensive three-hour net session, emphasising all facets of the game.

Shadab resumed bowling for the first time since his sidelining due to concussion after an awkward fall during the match against South Africa. This injury had forced him to be replaced by rookie leg-spinner Usama Mir.

Consequently, Shadab missed the subsequent matches against Bangladesh and New Zealand. His return to training saw him bowling with determination and also batting during the net practice.
Babar, who has faced criticism for inconsistency in this tournament, is determined to rectify this situation. Despite securing four half-centuries in eight innings, the No. 3 batsman has failed to convert any of these into a three-digit score. Additionally, Babar recently lost his top position in the ODI batting rankings.
Eager to make a substantial contribution, Babar put in extensive practice, particularly facing their formidable pace bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi. He also worked on employing sweep shots against spinners, strategizing to counter the challenge posed by Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, considering the spin-friendly conditions at the Eden Gardens.
Pacer Haris Rauf, who had an injury concern with his left rib and underwent an MRI, appeared to be fully involved in the training session, indicating readiness for the upcoming crucial match.
Batting pitch
A “fresh” wicket, which was yet to be used in this World Cup, will be on offer for Pakistan’s crucial clash on Saturday.
The wicket sported some green patches three days before the game and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) curator Sujan Mukherjee said it would be a “good batting track”.
“The track is offering spin and behaving differently because of dew this time around. I’m not sure how much grass will be kept, there’s still some time left for the match,” Mukherjee told PTI.
The Eden track has behaved tricky this time and only once in three matches 300-plus total was achieved, that too after much struggle by the Indian batters against South Africa.
In reply, the batting-heavy South Africa folded for 83.
Their campaign hanging by thread, Pakistan are vying for the fourth spot and set up a semifinal clash with table-toppers India.

ICC World Cup: Pakistan players skip dinner at hotel, order biryani, kebabs, chap from Kolkata’s famous restaurant

New Zealand, Pakistan and Afghanistan have eight points each, separated by net run-rate, as all face must-win situations.
While New Zealand will take on Sri Lanka, Afghanistan face the toughest challenge facing South Africa in their concluding group stage match.
Australia and South Africa are set to clash in the other semifinal.
(With PTI inputs)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *