On the brink of Australia-Pakistan test series. Babar Azam will look to make the statement, that he is amongst the world’s bests.
Pakistan cricket is well-known as the factory of ferocious fast bowlers. All batsmen across the globe had a difficult time to endure terrorizing bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan, Shoaib Akhtar, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif. Even if batsmen like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam-ul-Haq were a class apart from the rest, Pakistan is always a home of tall, fast, fiery beasts with the red cherry in hand.
Rise of Babar Azam
First-time Pakistan youngsters get to see their batting idol whom they can emulate. That is Lahore-born 25-year-old Babar Azam with old-age technique. His meteoric rise on the landscape of Pakistan cricket is a booster for the stability of batting unit of Pakistan. Catastrophe failure of Umar Akmal who was quoted as next big thing in cricket harmed Pakistan more what seems to the eyes. However, Babar has risen the hope of the renaissance of Pakistan cricket.
Records of Babar Azam
His three successive centuries at UAE against West Indies made headlines in the cricket world. After that records like third joint-fastest to 1000 runs and most runs in a three-match series took attention of cricket pundits. He already has more centuries in ODI cricket than any Pakistan batsman barring Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Yousuf. He averages 54.18 in ODI cricket, second to only King Virat Kohli among batsmen who scored more than 3000. Babar is ranked number three in ODI rating and number one in T20I batsmen rating. Even in the starting phase of career, he has numbers slightly better than the starting phase of Virat Kohli in shorter formats. Azam has scored 1092 runs in just 20 innings at a remarkable average of 60.66 and strike rate of 92.3 with the help of 3 centuries and 6 fifties in ODI cricket in 2019.
His ascent in T20I cricket horizon is aligned with the stellar run of Pakistan in T20I cricket. Pakistan became the number one ranking team in T20I cricket due to impactful performances of Babar. He has scored 1405 runs with a stunning average of 50.17 and strike rate of 127.5 in 36 matches. It is only a matter of time that he will be considered as part of honoured fab five comprising of Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe root.
Up-and-down test career
Nowadays there is a famous saying “test separates men from boys”.With all members of fab four have proved their capability in all formats, test career of Babar Azam is still in jeopardy. Surely some talents required more time to fulfil their promises. On the same note of India’s prolific opener Rohit Sharma who has a torrid time in test cricket from the debut in 2013. Babar couldn’t capitalise on opportunities. In 21 tests, he has scored 1235 runs with an ordinary average of 35.28 with only one century. He has taken 17 tests to score his first test century.
Position of Babar Azam in batting lineup of Pakistan is still uncertain. He has the highest average f 44.91 in 12 innings at number 6 position. However, he needs to play up in the order to control the innings of Pakistan. It seems that he needs to take responsibility on his shoulders to provide stability to the batting lineup of Pakistan team. If Babar at two down leads Pakstan batting with the support skipper Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, they will be a formidable side across the globe. Added responsibility might help Babar to replicate his success in shorter formats to tests.
Time to Stand up
As Pakistan team is touring down under in Kangaroo land, Babar can announce himself on test stage. He can give a much-needed boost to Pakistan camp who have to face the world’s best bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc at their home turf.This series can be a reminiscence of famous test series down under in 2014-15,in which heroics of his own idol Virat Kohli made the statement that he will lead the India team on his shoulders.