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Players are stepping up, looking for opportunities to deliver for the team: Babar Azam

Galle, July 23 (IANS) Ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam insisted that players in the side are always eager to step up and are looking for chances to play their role in helping the side cross the line.

Pakistan are high on confidence with a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, coming by chasing down 342 to secure the highest successful run chase at Galle, with Abdullah Shafique’s unbeaten 160 leading the chase for the visitors. Azam himself was the main contributor in the four-wicket win with a brilliant 119 in the first innings.

“We are chasing scores at different venues that people often think are not achievable, but we have the faith. We are looking to make records when we take the field and it is our hard work and belief that is making it happen. We are united and players are stepping up and looking for opportunities to deliver for the team.”

“We look for solutions for the challenges we encounter through partnerships or through our bowling plans. We plan for every situation. Of course, we are sportspeople and mistakes do happen, but we learn from them and make sure we do not repeat them,” said Azam to PCB Digital.

Asked how the atmosphere in the team is ahead of the second Test, which gives them a chance to clinch the series in Sri Lanka, Azam remarked, “The morale is quite high in the camp as posting a good win gives you a lot of confidence. We had complete rest for one day and relaxed our bodies after spending five days in the field. It is very important to look after your body and look after your mental health.”

“You stay on the toes for five days and your mind is constantly working under pressure during a match. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to look after yourself. A lot of credit goes to Cliffe (Deacon, team physiotherapist) for how he looks after us. We had a good session yesterday and are looking forward to the next Test. It was an intense competition with highs and lows so we are feeling good after winning it.”

Pakistan will take the field on Sunday without their premier left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi after he was ruled out of the match because of a knee injury sustained on the fourth day of the first Test. In place of him, Pakistan have included Nauman Ali in the eleven and have decided to go with two fast bowlers.

“We will, definitely, miss Shaheen because of the way he bowls. He bowls with aggression and gets us wickets upfront that helps the team. It is unfortunate that he is not in the side, but considering the conditions, we have included a spinner, Nauman Ali, and will go with two fast bowlers in tomorrow’s match,” concluded Azam.

–IANS

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