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April 16, 2021

Joining the greats

Editorial

 
April 16, 2021

Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, who has excelled in all forms of cricket, has effectively joined the game’s greats from his own country. In the eyes of many, he stands not far from players like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad or Muhammad Yousuf. Babar played a key role in Pakistan’s victory over South Africa in the ODI on Wednesday, with a score of 122 off just 59 balls. This gives him a century in every form of cricket. Just 26 years old, he already has five test centuries, 13 ODI centuries and now one T-20 century. With this, Babar Azam has clinched the number one position as batsman in one-day international cricket, and by doing so overtaking Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Interestingly, it is not the first time that Babar moved ahead of Kohli; he had achieved the feat in the first match of the series but slipped to second position after scoring low in the second match. Kohli had kept the number one slot since October 2017 and for over three years he ruled the roost. Since Babar is now eight points ahead of Kohli, it gives hope that Babar may be able to retain his position for quite a while. His performance has been extraordinary lately with 228 runs aggregated in the recently concluded series.

Babar Azam may just be the best batsman Pakistan and perhaps the world has seen for a very long time. He had always shown the extent of his ability beginning in Under-15 cricket for Pakistan and going on as captain to lead the Under-19 team to the World Championship final, where the team was eventually beaten by India. He is now the Pakistan captain in all forms of the game. He says his eventual desire is to become the best Test cricketer in Pakistan and play the game at the highest level for many years to come. At the moment, this seems very possible.

Babar had made his debut, unlike many from his generation, at home – playing Zimbabwe in 2015. At the time Pakistan was banned from international cricket. A year later in the 2016-2017 season, he scored three consecutive ODI centuries against the West Indies in the UAE. With this, his class had been established. And now his success in South Africa has shown the world just what magic he can do with the bat, showing a degree of flamboyance but also the vital ability to adjust the game to the demands of the occasion. As captain, he seems to be still finding his feet. But there is plenty of time for him to do so. Babar Azam is a shining star in Pakistani cricket and has so much outstanding cricket left in him that is yet to come out. With the level of confidence that Babar has displayed, we wish him continued successes in all formats of cricket.