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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Babar Azam

Babar Azam

Age 29PakistanPAKISTAN
Right Handed Batsman

The world gets excited when a nation is known to dish out fearsome fast bowlers and suddenly gives a technically sound and classy batsman out of nowhere. That's Babar Azam for you! Born in the beautiful city of Lahore, he's a top-order batter with plenty of elegance and temperament.

First cousin to the Akmal brothers, Babar Azam began his cricket from a very young age and represented his country in the U15 World Championship followed by the U19 World Cups in 2010 and 2012. Azam showed a lot of promise and was the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in both the WC editions.

Some steady knocks in the domestic circuit kept Azam in the reckoning and the year 2015, he was finally selected for the national team to play against Zimbabwe. Batting in the middle order, Babar played a few handy knocks but his career-defining moment came in the series against West Indies where he became the third Pakistani batter after Zaheer Abbas and Saeed Anwar to hit three consecutive ODI centuries.

Soon Babar Azam was considered for the longer format of the game. Babar made his Test debut against West Indies in 2016 and scored a half-century in the first innings. His unbeaten 90 against New Zealand in Hamilton was the testament of his calibre although he's yet to create the same kind of impact that he has in the shorter versions. Babar has successfully managed to prove himself as a batter for all formats and his exploits in T20 cricket are also there to be seen. A format renowned for muscling big shots, Babar quickly made a name for himself by playing delightful and eye-pleasing strokes and also played a key role in their 2017 Champions Trophy triumph.. He also broke Virat Kohli's record for the fastest 1000 T20I runs and in the year 2018 dethroned Aaron Finch to become the number one batsman in ICC's T20I Rankings. In the same year, he also registered his maiden Test hundred in a match against New Zealand.

Within 2-3 years of playing for Pakistan, Babar Azam established himself as one of the most important members of the squad and was given the command of the team across all formats. He showcased his skills in the 2019 ODI World Cup where he became the fastest Pakistani batter to score 3000 ODI runs. He also became the first middle-order batter for his nation to score a ton in a World Cup game after 32 years. Babar also broke Javed Miandad's record of most runs for Pakistan in a single edition of the World Cup scoring 474 runs in eight games. Under his captaincy, Pakistan enjoyed success across all formats while he continued to rack up individual milestones one after the other becoming one of the greats of the modern era. However, their performance in ICC events was not that good as they only played one final which was in the 2022 World T20 where they lost to England. Before the big event, he also scored his first ton in the shortest format against South Africa. In 2023, Australia toured Pakistan and Babar became the first Pakistani skipper to score a hundred against Australia in ODIs. In a shocking turn of events due to their disappointing 2023 ODI World Cup campaign, Babar resigned from captaincy in all formats. However, the results did not improve and it got even worse and he was reappointed as the leader in 2024. In the T20I series against Ireland, he broke the record for the most number of wins as captain in T20Is and also surpassed Virat Kohli for the most number of fifties in the shortest format.

Babar Azam played for Islamabad in the inaugural Pakistan T20 League. In 2017, he was drafted by Karachi and ended up as the second-highest run-scorer in the league with 291 runs. He stayed with the team till 2023. In the 2020 season, he was the leading run-scorer with 473 runs and helped his side secure the title as well. The following year he broke his record of scoring the most runs in a single edition with 554 runs. In 2023, he was traded to Peshawar where he led the team to the playoffs. He has also played in a few other T20 leagues in West Indies and Bangladesh. It is very difficult to find a batter like Babar Azam and Pakistan is very lucky to have him on their side. He is only getting better day by day scoring runs and breaking records for fun but his focus will also be on getting his nation an ICC trophy adding to his remarkable achievements.

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