LAHORE-Pakistan’s limited-over teams captain Babar Azam has said that the emerging youngsters in the National T20 Cup can get a chance against Zimbabwe during the upcoming home series. 

During the 26th edition of the PCB podcast, Babar said: “The National T20 Cup is an excellent opportunity for the youngsters to impress and stake a claim for a spot in the team that will play Zimbabwe. The series will also serve as practice for the tour of New Zealand later this year.” 

Babar will take the charge of Central Punjab when the National T20 Cup First XI Tournament resumes in Rawalpindi from tomorrow (October 9). Before his integration in the bio-secure bubble, Babar said here on Wednesday, “I am eager to join the bio-secure bubble for the National T20 Cup as it has been a long time since I met all these cricketers with whom I have played cricket in my early days. I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage with my friends and colleagues from all the six teams. 

“I am now familiar and comfortable with the bio-secure bubbles. The biggest thing at this stage is that cricket is taking place despite the Covid-19 pandemic and everyone who has played a part in ensuring that the sport does not stop deserves big credit. “I think the PCB deserves a lot of credit for announcing a full-fledged domestic season. The season has begun very well with the excitement of T20 cricket in Multan and I am hopeful that the passion and excitement would be the same when the Rawalpindi-leg begins.”

About expectations with Central Punjab, the master batsman said: “We had some issues with our bowling line-up in terms of quality and experience in the last season, but we are confident of overcoming those issues this season. Our batting has always been our strength and I am backing my batsmen to do well and lead us to the semi-finals stage.” 

On his preparation before walking into bat, Babar said: “I chat with fellow players in the dressing room before going in to bat as this helps me to remain calm. I cannot stay quiet for long in the dressing room especially before my turn to bat. “A great player is one who can stay focussed in pressure situations. I work hard on the mental aspect of my game as I feel mental strength is a key to success.” 

About success in all three formats, Babar said: “I feel a player’s talent and pedigree is gauged by his temperament and the ability to stay long at the crease which helps him make big runs. “I stick to my natural game in all three formats and back myself to play my shots. Of course, at times, you need different approaches and I try to adapt according to the given situation. I spend a lot of time and energy on getting my preparation right before a match. Practice is the key to success and I try and ensure I tick all the boxes before heading into a match.”

While analysing the Tour of England, the limited-over captain said: “I enjoy batting in England and now have a rich experience of the conditions there after having played all three formats in the last few years as we have been touring there consistently. Batting, especially in white-ball formats, is easier there because of the pace and true nature of bounce in the pitches. “I am happy with my returns for Somerset. Scoring a century [114 not out off 62 balls] for them gave me satisfaction.”