LAHORE: The Pakistan cricket team is hoping to maintain its dominance in the world ranking of T20 and to prove the World once again that Pakistan is ready to host international cricket.
The green-shirts will take on Bangladesh in a 1st T20 today (Friday) in 3 match series.
If the host team will lose just 1 match from 3 match series, Pakistan will slide to 2nd behind England or India after holding the top spot since January 2018.
Pakistan also wants to show that, the security situation has improved enough for the international teams to start regular play in Pakistan.
After the attack in 2009 by militants on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, Pakistan became wilderness for the international teams to play. This tough period ended in December when Sri Lanka came to Pakistan the first time after the 2009 attack.
The priority for skipper Babar Azam is to stay top of the world in T20 rankings.
“The focus is to continue the number one ranking,” said Babar on Thursday.”We can hang on 1st position in T20 only if we win all 3 matches, so it’s a do-or-die situation and we have planned for that,” he told in a press conference.
Pakistan’s rise started in 2016 under Sarfraz Ahmed‘s captaincy when Pakistan won 11 consecutive T20 series.
A poor finish in the 50-over World Cup in England, where Pakistan failed to reach in the semi-finals, resulted in the sacking of Sarfraz and head coach Mickey Arthur. They were replaced by Babr Azam and Misbah-ul-Haq respectively.
The team remained in a slump in Australia late last year, losing 2-0 in the Twenty20s and by the same margin in two Tests.
Bangladesh, last toured Pakistan in 2008, is coming off the back of an impressive series in India, where they won one of their three matches.
They also have a 2-1 advantage against Pakistan in the last three Twenty20 internationals.
“We have been good,” said Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah. “We want to do well in Pakistan.”
Mahmudullah said security fears had been left behind in Bangladesh.
“We feel good in Pakistan… so the focus will be on cricket.”
Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed Haris Rauf, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Musa, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud
Umpires: Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza
TV umpire: Ahmed Shahab
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle