Former Indian cricketer turned esteemed commentator, Gautam Gambhir, praised Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, for his confident and positive remarks ahead of Pakistan’s crucial encounter against England in Kolkata during the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.

With Pakistan teetering on the edge of elimination from the tournament, heading into their final league match against England, the daunting task at hand requires them to secure a victory by 287 runs to surpass New Zealand’s Net Run Rate for a shot at reaching the semi-finals. Although this seems like a nearly impossible feat, especially in the challenging conditions of Kolkata where even achieving a total of 300 is considered challenging, Babar Azam exuded confidence during his pre-match press conference, asserting that the team has a well-thought-out plan.

The most feasible approach for Pakistan appears to be amassing 400-450 runs while restricting England to around 100-120.

Babar Azam stated, ‘There are a lot of things in this, like partnerships, which player will stay on the pitch for how long. I would say if Fakhar is in the match for 20 or 30 overs, we can achieve that. We can do this, and we have planned for this.’

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Despite facing criticism on social media for his statement, Gautam Gambhir defended Babar Azam, stating that as a captain, he did the right thing by expressing confidence in his team even in the face of an almost insurmountable task.

Gambhir expressed on Star Sports, ‘It is an uphill task for sure, but what do you expect from a leader? What should he say in the press conference? Should he say that they have conceded defeat and that they want to go back? He is his country’s leader and has every right to show his confidence in the press conference. Even if it is 1%, there is hope at least. They are still not out, and anything can happen in cricket. So, I believe it was an exceptional press conference.’

Highlighting that Pakistan has nothing to lose, Gambhir suggested that they should aim for a total of 400.

‘It does not matter what we say or write on social media. A leader’s duty is to believe that it ain’t over till it’s over, whether it is one or half a percent hope. You go and play and try to score 400 if you get to bat first. In fact, Pakistan has nothing to lose. Even if they get bowled out for 200 or 250 while trying to score 400, at least they have in their mind that they need to score over 450 and dismiss them for under 200,’ added the 2011 World Cup winner.

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