July 7, 2021 8:40:49 pm
Azam’s comments come in the wake of seven members of the England squad testing positive for coronavirus. With the rest of the squad isolated, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had to announce a new 18-member squad.
When asked during a press conference whether there was any temptation to call off the trip, Babar said: “No, we didn’t think about it, it didn’t come into our minds at any time.
“The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) and ECB have assured us that they will take care of the safety and health of all the squad members. Of course it was disappointing news. We must understand that these are unprecedented times of COVID-19. We are focusing on cricket and the first game.”
“We can’t take any player playing for England lightly,” said Babar, the top-ranked ODI batsman.
“They may be new players but they are playing for England. I know a few of them having played in the T20 Blast and those we don’t know we have researched their performances.”
Ben Stokes will captain England in its emergency, having been left out of the original group to continue his recovery from finger surgery.
“One thing I told myself to tell the team is that, although this has been a very quick turnaround of events in having to pick a new squad, it does not matter what names are on the back of an England shirt. We are walking out there as the No. 1 team,” Stokes said.
“That is an exciting thing to say you are a part of,” he continued, “whether you are an experienced player, young player or someone coming into the group for the first time. Situations like these are so rare and such a fluster, I would say you have got a chance to represent your country so let’s do it with a smile on our face and just enjoy it as much as we can as a group.”
(With AP inputs)