Pakistan continue to do well under the inspiring leadership of Babar Azam
As expected, Pakistan whitewashed (3-0) West Indies in the home ODI series in Multan last week. The Greenshirts had also beaten Australia (2-1) in the home series in April.
With the series win, Pakistan moved to the fourth position in the ICC ODI team ranking with 106 rating points while India dropped to fifth place with 105 points.
In the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League standings, the men in green have jumped to fourth place. They are five points behind third-placed England.
Bangladesh are at the top of the ladder with 120 points, Afghanistan second with 100 points, and India are on the sixth place with 79 points.
Pakistan’s win against West Indies was very much on the cards as in the absence of senior players like Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Shimron Hetmyer and Fabian Allen the West Indies team was not even the shadow of its past.
In the limited overs formats, Pakistan’s performance under Babar Azam has remained outstanding in the last couple of years.
“We always give our hundred percent on the field, unity starts from the dressing room,” Babar said. “I try to instill confidence and self-belief in the squad while also giving proper chances to the players. This is the reason why our team is united and playing well on the field.”
Babar’s individual performance is also a motivation for the other batsmen. He has been on a record-breaking spree. He is the number one batsman in ODI and T20I ICC players’ rankings.
With a century in the first ODI against West Indies, Babar became the only player to have hit three consecutive ODI centuries twice. He had scored two centuries in the last two matches against Australia.
Before this feat, he had scored three ODI centuries against West Indies in the UAE in 2016.
Only 11 players have hit three or more centuries on the bounce in ODI cricket so far.
Babar, after hitting a century in the first ODI, scored 77 off 93 deliveries against the West Indies. He overtook Javed Miandad’s world record of scoring most fifties in consecutive innings across formats. Babar has 9 consecutive fifties, ahead of Miandad and Rahul Dravid (8 fifties each).
His ODI average currently stands at 59.78 – it’s the highest in the format’s history among all batters who have played at least 50 innings.
Since May 2020 when he took over as the captain of the national ODI team, Babar has averaged 91.36 with six centuries to his name in just 13 innings. He crossed 1,000 ODI runs as skipper, the fastest to do so in terms of innings, beating Virat Kohli’s record of 17 innings. Among all captains who’ve batted in at least 10 innings, Babar’s average is also the highest.
Among all top order batsmen with at least 20 innings at No.3, Babar’s ODI average is 65.91, the highest of any No. 3 position batsman.
Babar also has the best hundred to innings ratio in the format among all those with at least ten centuries: he has a century every five innings (17 out of 85).
It was not a memorable series for opener Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan and new wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Haris. Their scores in the ODI series were 63, 85 and 6, respectively.
In the last 9 ODIs, Fakhar has scored only one fifty -- against Australia in Lahore earlier this year. Rizwan scored 59 in the first ODI against West Indies, but scored 26 runs in the next two games.
Haris failed to show his batting skills in his debut ODI series. He looked in a hurry, looking to hit hard every ball.
The management wants to prepare him as a back-up of Rizwan but it will take time to groom him.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq remained the most successful batsman of the series with 199 runs, averaging 66.33. He scored fifties in all three matches of the series. Babar was behind him with 181 runs with one hundred and one fifty.
Imam (815 points) moved to second spot in the ICC ODI batsmen ranking, surpassing Kohli (811 points) by four points.
For West Indies, Shai Diego Hope was the highest run getter with 152 runs including one century at an average of 50.66.
On the bowling side, left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz and leg spinner Shadab Khan took seven wickets each, averaging 19.42 and 19.85, respectively.
Slow left-arm orthodox spinner Akeal Jerome Hosein was the most successful bowler for the visitor with five wickets with the average of 29.