Cricket-Unfamiliar Indian conditions not a worry for Pakistan, says Babar

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan captain Babar Azam does not think lack of familiarity with Indian conditions would hurt their bid for a second 50-overs World Cup title as they embark on a rare tour of the neighbouring country on Tuesday.

Bilateral cricket remains suspended between the neighbours, thanks to their soured political relations, and the last time Pakistan toured India was for the T20 World Cup in 2016.

Pakistan players do not feature in the Indian Premier League either, which means most of them would have little knowledge of the conditions they are going to face during the showpiece event beginning on Oct. 5.

In his pre-departure press conference, Babar dismissed suggestions it increased the pressure on his team to do well across the border.

“There’s no such pressure,” the 28-year-old told reporters as his team prepared to leave for India via Dubai.

“Every player keeps himself ready to perform in every condition, in every country.

“Most of us have not played in India but the information we have gathered suggest conditions are going to be similar, except in Chennai maybe where spinners get more help.

“Rest of the venues will have good, sporting tracks.

“I played the 2019 World Cup as a player but this time I’m leading the side. It’s a big honour for me and our effort would be to perform well and bring home the World Cup.”

The difficulty in securing visa for India tour means Pakistan would not get much support from the stands either but Babar was not perturbed.

“Unfortunately, we will be missing the fans,” Pakistan’s batting mainstay said.

“However, our games are all soldout, so we will be playing in jam-packed stadiums.

“Although our fans will not be there, I know they will make sure their love is heard on social media.”

Pakistan will play two warmup matches in Hyderabad before beginning their World Cup campaign with an Oct. 6 match against the Netherlands.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge)