Fight till the last ball, Naqvi tells players

By Abid Usman

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Mohsin Naqvi on Sunday told the national team to “fight till the last ball” ahead of the second match of a three-match T20 series against Ireland.
As he met players of the men’s national team in the Irish capital of Dublin, the PCB quoted him as saying: “Fight till the last ball; the competition should be apparent.”

On Friday, Ireland recorded their maiden T20 win against Pakistan who could not defend a solid-looking 182-5 after being put in to bat first, dealing a shocking blow to the Babar Azam-led side’s preparations for the World Cup, which is taking place next month in the United States.

The loss to Ireland, who are in Pakistan’s group in the T20 World Cup, came after a series draw on home soil to a New Zealand squad missing most of their first-choice players. With Babar only recently reinstated as captain, it was another bump in the road for their tournament preparation.

Today’s match will start at 7pm, with Ireland leading the series by 1-0.

In a post on X, the PCB shared a video of Naqvi meeting the Green Shirts and speaking to them, adding that a detailed discussion on the action plan took place during the two-hour-long meetup.

Encouraging the team, the PCB chairman urged the players to play with hard work, passion and a “professional approach”. He noted that T20 cricket needed a unique and aggressive approach, adding that victory was only possible if cricket was played in a “modern manner”.

“An action plan can be formulated while sitting in a room but the real test is on the ground, where the performance should be visible,” the PCB quoted him as telling the team.

Naqvi praised all players as “undoubtedly talented, professional and the best”, adding that the team’s bowling attack was “splendid”.

However, he emphasised that great attention was required when fielding so that the opponent “cannot get any chance” to score.

“The players are the hope for Pakistan and you have to meet the nation’s expectations. Teamwork is the fundamental thing for victory,” the PCB chairman said. He noted that the public loved cricket and had expectations from the team.

Naqvi said that success would come if all 11 of the players in the team performed with unity.

“No one is accepting the loss in the first match against Ireland. The real test after Ireland and England is the World Cup,” he added.