In the last few years, Pakistan has lost many players who were talented, but could not adjust to the demands of International cricket. Players like Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Maqsood are among those players who lost their spark and didn’t survive. Eventually, they couldn’t retain their spot for one reason or another.
To join the club and to make matters worse for Pakistan cricket, Misbah Ul Haq and Younis Khan have decided to say goodbye to Test cricket after the Windies tour.
The Pakistan team is still struggling to find quality batsmen and bowlers who can fill in the enormous gaps left by some star players. In this scenario of doom and gloom, young Babar Azam has been a ray of hope for Pakistan cricket.
Babar can prove to be a real asset for Pakistan, as he has the right technique and temperament for the game. A right-handed, top-order batsman known for his discipline and level-headed attitude, Babar Azam came into consideration as a teenager, when he played two Under-19 World cups in 2010 and 2012, in the latter of which he was Pakistan’s top run scorer.
Babar Azam announced his arrival in international cricket with a strong performance in 2016, making three consecutive ODI hundreds against the West Indies in the UAE, and a 90 in his second Test, in Hamilton. Just 22 years old, Azam, claimed to a long-term spot in Pakistan's batting line-up with his solid performances.
Babar Azam, first cousin to Kamran and Umar Akmal, has spent little more than a year as part of Pakistan’s ODI squad. In this short time, he has achieved such feats and laurels that many players with years of experience can only dream about. He played a few brilliant innings against England during the ODI series to save the faltering limited overs team from a complete disaster.
By scoring three consecutive centuries against West Indies, Babar became the third Pakistani batsman (and eighth from all countries) in ODI history to score a century in every single match of a three match series.
Babar’s love affair with the Windies is going very well at the moment as he has scored his 4th century out of 5 matches against them: a knock of 125* in the 2nd ODI which helped Pakistan level the three match series 1-1. His knock included 7 fours and 3 sixes which proved more than enough for West Indies.
Whenever Babar scores a century, Pakistan win the match. Babar hit a century Down Under against the Aussies which made Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s head coach, compare his shining star with one of the most brilliant batsmen in the world - Virat Kohli.
Keeping in mind that Champions Trophy is around the corner, Babar Azam’s existence in the Pakistan team would increase their chances to lift the title. Babar is blessed with solid technique and temperament and will come in handy in England. He will definitely miss his favorite West Indies who failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy this year.
Considering the amount of runs Babar has scored in his short career, one can say that “A star is born.” His cousin Kamran Akmal said, “We didn’t have to guide him, he was on his own, but we were supportive all the way.” Despite being brought up in a cricketing family, Babar didn’t rely on his cousins to push him in the Pakistan team. It was his hard work which is paying off in the end.
It is safe to say that Babar has firmly established himself in ODI cricket. Ever since his first century against the West Indies, he has been slowly but steadily establishing himself as a mainstay of Pakistan batting.
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