Cricket has evolved to a significant extent. New techniques, new strokes, innovations, improvisations, and whatnot. In this culture of batsman-ship, it is sporadic to find a batsman having a textbook approach, especially in shorter formats. We have the examples who primarily feature in test cricket. The likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Marnus Labuschagne, Alastair Cook (in the past) playing bat against the ball, orthodox. Then there are Jos Buttler, Glenn Maxwell, and Johnny Bairstow. They would hit sixes on will. The latter are all very significant parts of their shorter format sides. Next is the ‘fab 4’, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and Steven Smith, excelling at all three formats together. And then, after all these groups, there is Pakistan’s Babar Azam, an already established big thing in the cricketing world.
MAESTRO AT CRICKET FIELD
Babar is all class. He would not come down the ground and hit the first ball he faces over the right-arm-medium’s head. Instead, he sees it all and dominates the bowler without letting him know. Trigger movement, back-foot planted firmly, head still, singles here and there, late cuts, check drives, waiting for looseners. He has a 35 ball 50 before the opposition figures out the damage. Every Pakistani child is trying to imitate Babar’s super-classy cover drive and the after-pose for photographers down the streets at Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. Babar’s sublime balance and judging of length have already awe-struck the world. Indeed, there is a lot more to come from this super-talented player.
A 26-year-old (2021), raised in Lahore, made his international cricket debut at his hometown in 2015. His arrival to the pitch was a clear indication for all the record bookkeepers to buy new inks and fill their cartridges. Ever since his arrival, this man had no stopping. It didn’t take long for Babar to establish his presence. Scored a fifty on debut and made a permanent place in shorter formats for Pakistan. His three consecutive centuries versus the Westindies in UAE in 2016 earned him a test call. Soon, Babar Azam started representing Pakistan in all forms of cricket. In 2019, he was announced as Pakistan’s t20 captain and soon awarded ODI and test captaincies.
Entering the 7th year of his international cricket, Babar Azam already has many records of his name. He is the number 1 ODI and t20 batsman as of January 2022 and has occupied the 8th spot on the list of best test batters. Babar Azam has a career average of 43.17 in tests, 56.92 in ODIs, and 45.12 in t20is. His dominance in t20is is exceptional. He is the fastest batsman to score 2500 runs in t20is (62 innings) and second fastest to score 2000 runs in ODIs (45 innings).
His consistency in shorter formats is exceptional and a lesson for all the young players out there who fancy t20 cricket due to the game’s pace. Babar has shown that batters can also succeed in shorter formats without being extravagant. Babar Azam has scored 20 centuries in international cricket, with 100s in England, Australia, and South Africa. Under Babar’s captaincy, Pakistan defeated India for the first time in world cups during the ICC Men’s T20 world cup 2021. Pakistan had a phenomenal run at that world cup, winning five out of five games in group stages. However, in a very close contest, they felt short against Australia in the semi-finals.
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