Have never felt any pressure because of captaincy: Babar Azam

Babar Azam
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam in action against New Zealand. File photo: Reuters/Samuel Rajkumar

Pakistan's Babar Azam does not think the burden of captaincy has affected his batting at the World Cup and is not losing sleep over whether he will keep the job after the showpiece event.

The 1992 champions are fifth in the points table and face a virtually impossible task to make the semifinals when they take on holders England, who have already been eliminated, in their final group match on Saturday.

Pakistan must not only match New Zealand's five wins from nine matches but also need to massively improve their net run-rate to make the knockout stage.

If they bat first Babar's team will have to beat England by at least 287 runs to leapfrog New Zealand into the last four, which appears unlikely, and speculation is rife over whether Babar would retain the captaincy after their campaign.

He sought to steer clear of any speculation, however, and said his focus was solely on finishing their group stage on a winning note at the Eden Gardens.

"Once we go back to Pakistan ... we will see what happens," the 29-year-old reporters on Friday. "Right now, I am not focusing on this. My focus is on the next match."

Babar entered the World Cup as the top-ranked ODI batter but his average of 40.28 is behind three of his teammates, while several former players have found his leadership uninspiring.

The No. 3 batter's highest score of 74 came in their shock loss to Afghanistan but the 29-year-old denied that the captaincy was affecting his form with the bat.

"I have been captaining my team for the last three years and I have never felt pressure," he said.

"I have not performed the way I should have in the World Cup, that’s why people are saying that I am under pressure.

"Over the last two and half or three years I was the one who was performing for the side and leading the team.

"It seems everyone has an opinion on me - he should be like this, or like that. If someone really wants to advise me, I think everyone has my number. But I guess it is easy to give advice on TV."

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