'But I used to follow Ricky Ponting': Young Pakistan batter reacts to Babar Azam's 'We call him Rahul Dravid' praise
In reply to Babar's compliment, the youngster has said that although Dravid is an all-time great, he has actually been an admirer of Babar himself, Pakistan great Mohammad Yousuf and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
A month ago, Pakistan captain Babar Azam had showered huge praise on his 22-year-old teammates, comparing him to the great Rahul Dravid. In fact, Babar had seen shades of both Dravid and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in the youngster. These are pretty tall claims given the young batter has only featured in five Tests and three T20Is, but when a compliment this huge comes from none other than your captain, it promises to does the talent a world of good.
The batter here is Abdullah Shafique, who had made his debut for Pakistan in November last year against Bangladesh. After scoring twin fifties on his Test debut, Shafique took his batting a notch higher during the home series against Australia, where he registered scores of 81, 96 and 136 across the three matches in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi. This is what Babar had to say about Shafique.
"I personally watch and definitely enjoy Abdullah's stylish batting. He plays very clean, his stance and the way he ducks the ball are impressive. Usually, we compare him to Kane Williamson and Rahul Dravid. We call him Dravid" Babar had told Dawn News. "In the presence of Abdullah, the place of opener Shan Masood, another polished batter, may be in doubt but our main aim in selecting an individual is the team's interest."
Now, in reply to Babar's compliment, Shafique has said that although Dravid is an all-time great, he has actually been an admirer of Babar himself, Pakistan great Mohammad Yousuf and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. "I am honoured that Babar compared me with Rahul Dravid. But I used to follow Ricky Ponting a lot. After Babar and Yousaf Bhai, I followed him," he told PAKTv.
Shafique looked back on the recently-concluded series against West Indies at home. Although he did not get to feature in the Playing XI, the 22-year-old has taken aplenty watching the proceedings from the sidelines. "I didn't get a chance to play but it was good being around the players who were playing. I will try to grab any opportunity that comes to me in the upcoming Sri Lanka Test tour," he said.