Pakistan's newly-announced ODI captain Babar Azam, in his first press conference since the announcement mentioned that improving the ODI ranking of the team will be his top priority. Pakistan are presently ranked sixth and had failed to reach the World Cup semifinal following a string of defeats in the first half of the tournament.
"I'm grateful to the PCB for naming me as ODI captain," Babar said. "I've captained the U19 as well as the T20I team in the past. When I look at our rankings in the formats, it is not acceptable for me and my task is to bring that up to the top-3. Misbah bhai called me and congratulated me for getting the ODI captaincy. PCB thought I was ready and they gave it to me. I'm ready."
Babar also expects that his batting prowess remains the same even after the additional responsibility of being the ODI skipper. He is presently the No.1 T20I batter and is ranked third in the ODIs.
"I'm a fan of challenges," he pointed out. "Captaincy and batting is a little different, when you are batting, you are just focussing on batting and not thinking about captaincy. It's only when you are done with batting that you start thinking about team performance.
"My aim is to continue performing the same way even as captain. Maybe Australia T20s didn't go as well as we'd hoped. But now we won the T20 series against Bangladesh, so we are confident. Hopefully, I can keep giving performances that results in victories so the team is also confident. It's not like captaining will affect my batting. I've never thought of it that way."
On being asked about his new captaincy role, Babar said that he woul like to adopt Imran Khan's technique on the field. "When you are captaining, you need to have a bit of a cool mind, you've to carry your team along, you've to be methodical with your plans against the opposition to get them out," he observed. "You have to be a little controlled, inside you may feel angry but you have to be in control. I learnt this in under-19 [cricket]. In the ground, you may have to tone down the aggression and give the players confidence. If you back your players 110%, they'll do that well. I want to be an attacking captain. I want to adopt the Imran Khan style."