Babar Azam reflects on a phenomenal 2019; reveals the Test innings that changed his career
Babar Azam is not new to Pakistan cricket, but he is still quite young. 2019 was a prolific year for the 25-year-old sensation, who has breathed life into the usually shaky Pakistan batting line-up in all three forms of the game.
Babar has proven that talent still exists in Pakistan at a time when the Pakistan Super League is on a high and hunting for new talent to help rebuild the Pakistan team.
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In 2019, Babar was handed the reigns of the Pakistan T20I team, while he is the vice-captain in the ODIs. He is currently ranked no.1 in T20Is, third in ODIs and sixth in Test batsmen rankings.
2019 proved to be a great year for Babar in all three forms of the game. He has impressed everyone in the longest format of the game last year by scoring 616 runs in six Tests at an average of 68.44 with the help of three centuries and three half-centuries.
Speaking in Lahore after Test cricket returned to Pakistan last month with the arrival of Sri Lanka, Babar said on Tuesday:
“Test cricket was quite rewarding for me this year. For the past two years, I wasn’t quite living up to my own and cricket fans’ expectations in the longest format. This year, I worked on improving the mistakes I made in the format and was able to overcome some of them which helped me make some runs.
“The more you play the longer format, the more you understand the nuances of the game and find your way. My innings in South Africa against Dale Steyn gave me great pleasure and confidence that I can get into the Test match zone. I also learned how to convert 60s and 70s into 100s, and then my century in Australia gave me confidence that I can make big runs in the format.
"When you score in places like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand against formidable bowling attacks, you get self-belief and confidence. I rate the century against Australia as my best innings of the year in Test format”
Babar was not only phenomenal in Test matches last year, as he scored 1,092 runs at an average of 60.66 in 20 ODIs in 2019 at a magnificent strike-rate of 93.30.
In 10 T20Is last year 2019, he managed to score 374 runs at a healthy average of 41.55 with a strike-rate of 136.99.
“This year, I played my first 50-over World Cup. It was a big occasion and I really enjoyed the event [Babar scored a Pakistan record 474 runs in the tournament at 67.71]. As a kid, I used to follow World Cups very keenly on television. When I got selected for the big event, I set a goal of doing something big and different.”
While Pakistan have had their fair share of batting collapses in recent years, fans have watched Babar hold the team together on several occasions and drive them out of tricky situations.
We wish Babar Azam the best of luck for 2020 and hope that he will continue his sensational form into the new year.