Pakistani skipper Babar Azam's expectations from Indian cricket fans
Skipper Babar Azam expressed his optimism on Tuesday, anticipating significant support for the Pakistani cricket team during the upcoming World Cup in India. This optimism persists despite reports of Pakistani fans being prohibited from traveling to the 50-over tournament due to pending visa approvals from Indian ministries. In a pre-departure press conference held in Lahore, Azam acknowledged the unfortunate absence of their dedicated fanbase.
Nonetheless, Azam confidently stated that their matches have already garnered substantial attention, with all tickets sold out. He anticipates playing in packed stadiums, which will undoubtedly generate support for the team even in the absence of physically present fans. The enthusiasm of cricket lovers worldwide is expected to transcend geographical barriers and resonate within the stadiums.
The Pakistani squad is set to depart early on Wednesday, embarking on their journey to India, where they will engage in two warm-up matches. These matches, against New Zealand on September 29 and Australia on October 3, will serve as valuable preparations for the challenging competition ahead. The World Cup commences on October 5, offering a seven-week spectacle of cricketing excellence.
Their opening match in the tournament will be against the Netherlands, setting the stage for a series of highly anticipated contests. The pinnacle of excitement for fans across the subcontinent is undoubtedly the clash between Pakistan and their arch-rivals, India, scheduled for October 14 in the grandeur of Ahmedabad Stadium, which boasts a seating capacity of over 130,000 spectators.
Azam drew inspiration from reports of previous tours to India, where Pakistani cricketers experienced warm hospitality and love from Indian fans. He remains hopeful that this goodwill will continue and that their supporters will not remain silent in the face of adversity. Despite physical limitations, Azam expects their loyal fanbase to rally behind the team through social media and various online platforms, offering their unwavering support and fervent prayers for Pakistan's success in the tournament.