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Sports

Web Desk
April 14, 2021

Babar Azam ends Virat Kohli's reign as top ODI batsman in ICC rankings

Sports

Web Desk
Wed, Apr 14, 2021
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and India captain Virat Kohli. Photo: File

DUBAI: After more than three years, Babar Azam ended Virat Kohli's reign as the top ranked ODI batsman in the world, showed the latest ICC ODI rankings.

Babar is ranked number 1 in the ICC's ODI batsman rankings with 865 points and Kohli is below him with 857 points. The Indian skipper was sitting on top of the table since 2017.

The Pakistan skipper reached the top of the table after scoring 228 runs in the recently concluded ODI series between Pakistan and South Africa.

It is the first time that Babar has reached the number one position in the ODI rankings for batsman.

The last Pakistani to sit at the top of the ODI batting rankings was former batting great Mohammad Yousuf in 2003.

Babar is the fourth Pakistan batsman after Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf who reach the top of the ODI batting table.

“I feel privileged and honoured to have joined the company of stalwarts like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf, who will always be the shining stars of Pakistan cricket," Babar said in a statement released by the PCB minutes after the ICC update.

Babar is hoping to hold on to the milestone he has achieved but knows that if he wants to retain the position then he will have to work harder and be "absolutely  consistent".

“I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman’s calibre, reputation and skills," said Babar.

The Pakistan skipper acknowledged that if he wants to achieve his ultimate goal then he will have to perform consistently against the top sides.

But for now, Babar said that he will savour the moment as it has come almost 18 months after his appointment as the white ball captain.

Apart from ODI's, Babar is currently placed at number 6 in Test and number 3 in T20Is.

Fakhar, Shaheen rise to career best positions

Apart from Babar, opener Fakhar Zaman has entered the top 10 of the ODI batsman rankings and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi is on the cusp of entering the bowlers top ten.

Zaman is placed 7 in the rankings after he scored back-to-back centuries against South Africa in the last two ODIs of the three-match series.

This is the second time on the trot that Zaman has moved in the ICC rankings, in the last update he had jumped seven places and reached the 12th position.

He had risen to the 12th position last week after his stellar knock of 193 runs against South Africa in the second game of the three-match ODI series at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

After that match, Zaman scored 101 off 104 balls in the third ODI to end up in the seventh position. He holds the position jointly with South Africa's Faf du Plesis.

On the other hand, Pakistan's pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi is on the verge of entering the top 10 of the ODI bowling rankings.

Shaheen's six wickets in three matches at an average of 32.33 against South Africa helped him reach the number 11 position in the bowlers rankings.

Shaheen's previous highest-ranking was 14th, which he had achieved following his two for 61 in the first ODI against South Africa.