He is the talk of the town. Everyone is saying he might be the next big thing in Pakistan cricket. The comparisons with legends have already been started. The young Pakistani sensation, Babar Azam, has announced himself on the world stage.
Babar Azam, when he initially arrived on the international stage, started off on a very good note, scoring half-centuries in his first few innings. He was said to be one of the best young talents of Pakistan and he didn’t disappoint. He kept on scoring runs. He kept on proving his mettle. He kept on rising above others, and in the end he rose above all as he eclipsed everyone in his team.
Babar Azam now is the centre of attention of Pakistan, and that might be a good thing for Pakistan Cricket.
While Babar Azam is a great talent, and definitely one for the future, what’s most important now is that Pakistan does not spoil him. Pakistan should turn him into a complete batsman. At the moment he is raw, and they must refine him.
Babar Azam averages around 42 in First Class cricket in the 20 odd matches he has played till now. In List A cricket he averages just a shade under 50, with 11 hundreds and 21 fifties under his belt, collected while amassing 3380 runs in total. Now those are impressive stats for a 21-year-old.
He is yet to play Test cricket for his country, but he has represented Pakistan in a spectacular fashion in the limited overs formats, and that might possibly lead to his Test call up. From the way he is batting nowadays, that day doesn’t look to be too far. It seems to be very soon that he will be a part of the Test team.
Babar Azam has played eighteen One Day Internationals for Pakistan till now, scoring 886 runs at an average just a tad above 52, and at a healthy strike rate of almost 94. This young sensation has piled up three hundreds and five fifties in these ODIs. His 886 runs are the most by any player in 18 innings. Sir Viv Richards scored 883 in his first 18 innings.
Babar Azam needs 114 more runs in his next two ODI innings to become the fastest to 1000 ODI runs in the history of world cricket. He definitely can do that, but if he isn’t able to pull it off in 2 innings, then he will equal the record of Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Viv Richards, and Quinton de Kock in scoring a thousand runs in 21 ODI innings.
Babar Azam is also now a part of the exclusive list of players who have scored three or more consecutive ODI hundreds. Kumar Sangakkara tops the list with four consecutive centuries. The other seven with 3 in a row are Zaheer Abbas, Saeed Anwar, Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Ross Taylor.
The only thing that Pakistani fans fear right now is that Babar Azam might follow the path of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. Both of them were highly talented players who destroyed themselves with attitude problems, ego problems and a lot of mismanagement and mishandling by the PCB. Babar Azam is worth a lot more than these two, so the PCB must take care of him. They must polish him and they must not ruin this beautiful gift that they have got.
Pakistan got something after a long long time…
India has Kohli, Rahane, Rohit and Rahul etc. New Zealand has Williamson and Latham and more. England has Root, Bairstow, Stokes and Buttler among others. Australia: Smith, Khawaja, Warner and company. South Africa wield de Kock, ABD, Amla and Miller to name a few. Just as every other team has got enough batting talents for the next few years, Pakistan has none. The ones they have are near retirement, and those who are young do not have the potential to become the “one for the future” type.
Pakistan can now boast about having someone who can win matches with his batting, and his name is Babar Azam.
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