Babar Azam: A new ray of hope for Pakistan cricket
Babar Azam is probably the best thing to happen to Pakistan cricket in the last five years. He is only 25 years old, but is already considered as the lynch-pin of the Pakistani batting line up. He is also touted as 'Pakistan’s Virat Kohli' and has the pressure of carrying the hopes of his nation on his shoulders.
For a country that has been unable to make a mark in the game recently and return to its previous glory, Babar Azam has come as a fresh lease of life.
After 74 ODIs, he averages a whopping 54.18, and already has 11 centuries to his credit. In the shortest format of the game, he averages over 50 and in white flannels, he is into his stride as well.
In the first Test against Bangladesh, Azam’s effervescent 143 has put his side in the driver’s seat against the Bangladeshi tigers. His knock, coming off just 193 deliveries helped his side amass a huge total of 445 runs on the board. It was his 5th century in Test cricket, and a hundred that he will savour for a long time.
The Lahore batsman is very pleasing to the eye. He is blessed with supreme hand eye co-ordination, transfers his weight on either foot in a seamless manner and is always on the lookout for runs. His hunger, driven by his innate talent is the key factor behind his success.
In fact, this is what legendary Pakistani cricketer and former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq had to say about the Kohli-Azam comparison.
"The Indian captain’s record speaks for himself and he can also surpass Sachin Tendulkar‘s record in the future. Virat’s aggression and passion for the game have been the same since his first match for India. Babar Azam also has a hunger to score runs. Both players have similar traits."
Inzamam also stated that Azam's match winning ability and intent are similar to that of the Indian skipper.
"Both the players play with a motive to deliver match-winning performances for their team. Kohli has already proved his forte by steering his side to the win on many occasions. Babar has also stepped up and started delivering match-winning performances for Pakistan since a couple of years."
A comparison with the modern era’s greatest willow wielder should act as a trememdous source of motivation for the young batsman, and that too, coming from a legendary cricketer like Inzamam adds further weight to the statement.
Azam's batting exploits have given his country the hope that there are brighter days ahead for the Pakistani side with him leading the way.
Published 09 Feb 2020, 22:20 IST