What is Babar Azam's top priority?

"My main aim has always been to win the matches and tournaments for the country and make my performance count,” Babar says

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam plays a shot during the first ODI cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, on April 27, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam plays a shot during the first ODI cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, on April 27, 2023. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: Amid the long-standing criticism on Babar Azam's performance as the captain, the prolific cricketer said winning matches for the country had always been prime for him as compared to reaching individual landmarks.

As Pakistan look to achieve consecutive success against New Zealand in the second One Day International (ODI) today, Babar said in an exclusive interview with The News that achieving victories for Pakistan had been his top priority.

“I have never focused on individual milestones. My focus has always been to deliver for the team and give such performances that win matches for my team. When you play with that goal, you achieve milestones along the way. 

"he aim should always be to give impactful performances. These milestones and records are byproducts of that mentality,” the skipper said when asked how excited he was to become the fastest batter to reach 12,000 runs in international cricket.

“I do not have any personal ambition. What I want is to strive for the country’s success. Each time I come on the field, I want to win for the team and for the country. I have never focused on achieving one record or the other. These things come with performance. But my main aim has always been to win the matches and tournaments for the country and make my performance count,” he said.

In response to a question regarding Fakhar Zaman’s words of praise for his and Mohammad Rizwan’s achievements for the country, he said, his words were a reflection of a true team spirit.

“What Fakhar has said is a reflection of our team culture. We back and encourage each other. We spend time with each other a lot more than we do with our families to become a well-bonded unit, it is important to stand by your teammates and enjoy each other's success. We back each other in an effort to get the best results for the team and for the country,” he said.

Babar refused to share any details about Shan Masood’s below-par display in ODI cricket where he has so far scored 112 runs in seven matches and played with a poor average of 16 runs per innings.

“I would like to keep the cards closer to my chest at the moment,” he said.