Azam blasts critics, Malan unsure of England future
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam blasted his critics on Friday, telling them "it's easy to give advice on TV" as he refused to surrender his World Cup dreams.
Pakistan have to defeat defending champions England by at least 287 runs on Saturday to oust New Zealand as the fourth and last semi-finalist on net run rate.
Failure to do so will spark more questions over Azam's captaincy, a position he has held for three years.
"I have not performed the way I should have in the World Cup, that's why people are saying that I am under pressure. I am under no pressure," insisted the 29-year-old.
"Everyone has their own point of view, their own way of thinking. Everyone is saying something different. He should be like this, or like that.
"If someone has to give me advice, everyone has my number. It is easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me some advice, you can message me."
Azam has made 282 runs at the tournament with an average of just over 40 and four fifties.
However, as captain, he has overseen four defeats in eight games including a shock loss to Afghanistan and a shattering one-wicket defeat to South Africa.
They stayed alive in the tournament last weekend when Fakhar Zaman's unbeaten 81-ball 126 not out inspired a rain-hit win over New Zealand despite the Black Caps having piled up 401-6.
Azam insisted his team has not given up hope of pulling off victory over England despite the huge margin required.
"It's not like this matter is not in the back of the mind. It's in our mind and we will try to do it," said Azam.
"But we can't just go in and start firing blindly – we want that but with proper planning, how we want to play the first 10 overs, then the next 20 – how we have to achieve that target.
"There are a lot of things in this, like partnerships, which player will stay in the pitch for how long. I would say if Fakhar is in the match for 20 or 30 overs, we can achieve that. We can do this and we have planned for this."
Pakistan have never scored more than 361 against England, which they achieved at Southampton in 2019. Their biggest victory over the English is 108 runs 22 years ago.
Meanwhile, Dawid Malan will not be surprised if Saturday's match proves to be his last for England, who might opt for a 50-overs reset following their dismal World Cup title defence in India, the opening batter said on Friday.
"I guess I'm in a unique situation being the second oldest in this team," the 36-year-old told reporters at Eden Gardens.
"I don't know what my future holds, whether that will be my choice or the team's choice."
"Tomorrow could be the last game of cricket for England for me and it could still be the start of another journey. Who knows? We'll only find out when the dust settles."
Malan is one two English batters along with Ben Stokes who managed a century in the tournament and his average of 46.62 is better than any of his team mates.
"Playing for England means everything for me. I've made no secret of that," Malan said.
"I've always wanted to be part of this team and play for England for as long as I can but ultimately you get to a stage where you have to look a little bit further ahead and see what's best for the team...
"I guess there are decisions to be made over the next couple of days when the dust has settled and we'll see where we end up."
Malan said he still had the skills to score runs.
"If they want experience around, someone who's played quite a bit and played in the way that the team wants to play, I'd love to still be around and do it," he said.
"But when you get to this stage of being the second oldest, it's usually them that go first regardless of results and that's part and parcel of the game."