LAHORE-Pakistan T20I captain Babar Azam has advised the women players to take every match as a new match and remain focused on the task at hand.

Babar said this during a PCB-organised virtual talk with total 15 international and emerging batters to help them remain focused on cricket during the Covid-19 lockdown across the country.

“Take every match as a new match and ignore your achievements or failures of the past matches to remain focused on the task at hand. I watch even those innings of mine, where I have scored centuries, not to gloat, but to identify where I could have done better. It is very important that we stay away from complacency,” said 25-year-old Babar.

The T20I skipper, who is ranked No 1 in T20I cricket while third and fifth in ODI and Test formats respectively, said: “Developing a positive attitude in the buildup of a match is the key for better performances while practicing on the balls where I struggled rather than staying in the comfort zone has helped me become a better batsman. I am unable to perform 99 percent of the times, when I have a negative thought in my mind that I may fail.

“It is very important that you don’t change your batting approach altogether because of a failure in one innings. But, try to identify how you could have done better. I watch all the top batsmen in the world to understand their batting approach in different situations as it helps me understand the game better,” he added.

Babar also revealed that how he remains focused under pressure and laid emphasis that valuing one’s own wicket translates into becoming better at batting. “There’s a lot going on when you are at the crease. In that situation, it is better to talk to yourself and it is something that I do not only in a match but during practice as well.”

Speaking on maintaining consistency in results, Babar said that he had set some particular goals for himself early in his career for which he has put enormous efforts to achieve. “I had set a goal that I have to become the best player in the world. I analysed myself and identified the areas where I needed to work hard. I spoke to the coaches, seniors and worked extremely hard.

“It is very important that you help each other. Sometimes we are unaware of where we are going wrong and our teammates help us identify them. I still ask my younger brother while I am knocking whether I am doing well. I have been doing knocking with him from my young days so he knows me. Or I ask Imam-ul-Haq, and he asks me, because we know each other,” he added.

South Africa’s AB de Villiers accumulated over 8,000 runs in Tests including 22 centuries and 46 fifties and also holds the records for the fastest 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls), respectively. Terming De Villiers a natural talent, Babar said he used to follow him in the beginning of his career. “When I started playing cricket and went to the club, I used to follow De Villiers, who is a natural player and can play in all areas. After seeing him bat, I used to apply those shots in the nets,” he said.

He added that this was just a start for him and he has got to go a long way. “I loved playing cricket from the very beginning. I used to play in streets and also had many fights for the love of the game. I have worked a lot on my balance. Coach Mansoor Rana made me practice a lot and I did my hard work, which helped me emerge as one of the top batsmen of the cricket world,” Babar concluded.