Pakistan vs West Indies 2018: Five Pakistani players to watch out for in T20I series
The last 6-7 months have been very good for cricket in Pakistan. They successfully hosted the 2017 PSL final following which the World XI (appointed by ICC) toured Pakistan in September for three T20Is. Sri Lanka then played their final T20I of the 3-match series there.
All these games were played in Lahore and the security was top notch. This year, the PSL also hosted three games in Lahore (Eliminator 1, Eliminator 2 and the final). And now, West Indies are touring the nation for 3 T20Is.
The Pakistan T20I team have been in supreme form. They have won 6 consecutive bilateral T20I series and the last time they lost a T20I series was back in January 2016. Hence, they will go into this 3-match T20I series as favourites.
The players have been fairly consistent and have delivered when it has mattered the most. Hence, let’s have a look at 5 Pakistan players who could step up in the upcoming T20I series:
#5 Babar Azam
In December 2016, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had compared Babar Azam to Virat Kohli, saying: “He's (Azam) as good as Virat Kohli.” The Pakistan No. 3 had played just 25 international games when Arthur made that statement. And about 15 months later, Azam has become the pillar of the Pakistan batting line-up.
Azam’s Test career might not have taken off, but his performances in limited-overs cricket have been very good. After an exceptional 2017, Azam had an underwhelming ODI series in New Zealand, but he came back strongly in the T20I series.
In Pakistan’s 2-1 series victory over the Blackcaps, Azam was the highest run-getter in the series with 109 runs. In the recently concluded PSL, the Lahore-born batsman was the third-highest run-getter in the tournament (402 runs).
In Lahore, he has an exceptional record as well. In 4 T20Is Azam has played in his hometown, he has amassed 213 runs at an average of 71.00 and a strike-rate of 140.13. Thus, Azam will be looking to continue his good form.