Pakistan’s cricket captain Babar Azam on Friday said that the team was fully prepared to face New Zealand on its upcoming tour. During a press conference in Lahore, Azam expressed confidence in the team’s ability to challenge the Kiwis and said: “Our team is very excited to go on its New Zealand tour and players are in the right frame of mind to perform to the best of their ability and potential.”

The batsman said that though the team was taking New Zealand as a challenge, it was not under pressure. “We will enjoy the tour and make efforts to play a good game,” he told reporters and noted that Pakistan’s past record in New Zealand was good.

The skipper said that all the players included in the team were capable and try to deliver their best performances.

“We always face challenges and playing abroad is a difficult task, but we have been playing well when abroad. For example, we showed a good performance in England,” he said. At the same time, however, he stressed that players must work hard and stay in form to prove themselves. He said that while younger players should learn from seniors on the team, the latter should “demonstrate their best performance”.

Azam rubbished reports of “grouping” among players, saying that the team was a single unit whose “objective is to play for Pakistan and strive to achieve glory for the country”.

He also thanked former captains Sarfaraz Ahmed and Azhar Ali; both of whom were removed by the Pakistan Cricket Board, and said that he has learned from both his predecessors; and will consult them whenever needed.

“I am the one responsible for making decisions but I will consult them too,” he maintained. Azam has been appointed as Pakistan’s captain in all three formats.bPakistan will leave for New Zealand on November 23 and will complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Lincoln.

The three-match T20 series between Pakistan and New Zealand will start on December 18 and end on December 22. The ICC World Test Championship fixtures will be played in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch from December 26-30 and January 3-7, respectively.