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Babar Azam breaks record for most int'l runs in a year by Pakistani batter

Prolific right-hander Babar Azam achieves milestone during first session of opening Test against New Zealand in Karachi

By Faizan Lakhani & Web Desk
December 26, 2022
Babar Azam plays a shot during Pakistans match against New Zealand at the National Bank Cricket Arena in Karachi. — PCB
Babar Azam plays a shot during Pakistan's match against New Zealand at the National Bank Cricket Arena in Karachi. — PCB

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Monday reached a new feat by becoming the first Pakistani batter to score the most international runs in a calender year.

The prolific right-hander achieved the milestone during the first session of the opening Test against New Zealand in Karachi.

After scoring his 13th run, Babar crossed Mohammad Yousuf’s record of 2435 runs which he set in 2006. The skipper scored 735 runs in T20, 679 in ODI, and over 1,000 runs in the red ball format of the game.

This wasn't the only feat achieved by Babar in today's Test as he also equaled Sri Lanka batting great Kumar Sangakkara’s record of most 50-plus scores, 25, in a calendar year, after hitting half a ton. The Sri Lankan batter had achieved the feat in 2014.

Pakistan were at 115-4 at lunch against New Zealand in the opening match going on at the National Bank Cricket Arena. 

Earlier, Babar won the toss and opted to bat against New Zealand Monday in the first Test in Karachi.

Test feat

Last week, Babar Azam became the only sixth Pakistani to amass 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year in the Test series against England.

The right-handed batter reached this milestone on the third day of the Karachi Test when he reached 45 in his innings. Babar, though, was out after scoring 54.

While this was the seventh occasion of a Pakistani batter scoring 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year, Babar is the sixth cricketer from the country to do so as Younis Khan achieved this feat twice.

Former captain Younis had scored 1,179 runs in 2006 and another 1,064 runs in 2014. Mohammad Yousuf leads the chart with 1,788 runs in the year 2006. Other batters in the list from Pakistan include Azhar Ali (1,198 in 2016), Inzamam-ul-Haq (1,090 in 2000) and Mohsin Khan (1,029 in 1982).

Only three other batters have amassed 1,000 runs this year before Babar. English cricketer Joe Root has scored 1,098 runs in 27 innings, Australia's Usman Khawaja 1,079 runs in 19 innings and England's Jonny Bairstow with 1,061 runs in 19 innings.

The star player is in the third spot of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) career-best rankings with 871 points.

Babar's third place comes after Australia's Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith — who are in the first and second spots respectively.