The 24-year old Babar Azam from Pakistan with his outstanding innings kept Pakistan’s World Cup dream alive.
He didn’t only create a few records, he, in fact, went on to surpass his idol Virat Kohli in some cases. No wonder his batting coach, Grant Flower matched him with Virat Kohli
Babar Azam walked in during the chase when Pakistan were 110/3 against New Zealand. The tussle was unequal. For New Zealand, it was more of a battle of pride whereas for Pakistan it was a must win.
New Zealand came to the match with the undefeated tag. They posted 238 runs and gave hope to the green army. Babar Azam played a calculated classic inning. His innings was flawless, a treat to watch.
He made the chase comfortable, achievable. He read the situation and crafted the innings accordingly. His unbeaten 101 off 127 helped Pakistan to stay for a few more days in this World Cup.
He himself termed this innings as his best ODI knock so far. He accepted that the track was difficult to bat on which added to his satisfaction of producing this innings.
The Man-of-the-Match and the man for Pakistan said, “this is my best innings. the wicket was difficult and turned a lot in the second half. The plan was to go through to the end and give my 100%.”
The way he chased it down, no wonder, he reminded of and compared to Kohli. Babar went on record to tell how much he admires and idolizes the Indian captain.
Once he said, “He is very consistent, and his mindset is very good. He gives 100 percent every time he walks out to bat. I am at the start of my career, so the aim is to be like him, and be the epitome of performance in each of Pakistan’s wins.”
When he aims to be like Kohli, there have been times that actually saw Babar surpassing Kohli- well, at least in terms of numbers!
While playing the innings, he became the second fastest batsman to cross 3000 one day international runs. In fact, he has even defeated his idol Virat Kohli in this race.
While Babar Azam from Pakistan achieved the feat in 68 innings, Hasim Amla had done the same in just 57 innings. Vivian Richards is in the third place as he took 69 innings followed by Kohli at the 10th position who did it in 75 innings.
Even in case of completing 1000 and 2000, ODI runs Babar took lesser innings than Kohli. His 2000 runs came in 45 innings whereas Kohli’s came in 53 innings.
Babar Azam from Pakistan registered 1000 ODI runs in 21 matches but Kohli required 27 innings to reach the milestone. Interestingly, Babar Azam’s hundred was also Pakistan’s first Cricket World Cup century scored by a non-opener since 1987.
His 10th ODI century against New Zealand has proved that he has all the elements to become the next Virat Kohli. Well, at least the experts say so!
Even Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower was in praise of the young man and hoped that Babar would be able to match Kohli in future.
Flower termed him as special and one of the best batsmen of Pakistan, “”I think he’ll have a really good career if he keeps his feet on the ground, which I think he will. He’s got Virat’s hunger. I think he could be at some point in the future.”
In 70 one day matches so far, Babar Azam scored 3072 runs at an average of 52.96 with 10 hundred and 14 half centuries. During the chase, he scores at an average of 46.51.
Babar Azam from Pakistan has strike rate is always more than 84. The good part is that he has just started. The best part would be that he continues like this and doesn’t get carried away with all these comparisons coming in. If Babar Azam can pull off, nothing can be more beneficial for Pakistan.
The traditionally unpredictable team of world cricket have started to regain the lost fame once again. Pakistan, who used to produce world-class paces once again look stable with guns like Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz.
The batting order is not as good as the bowling pack. Their dependency on the young man, Babar Azam is very relevant. So for the sake of Pakistan cricket, Babar Azam needs to carry on with his good form and class.
The way he is improving day by day, nurturing himself for the betterment, he is the player Pakistan can easily look up to hunt for their glorious past.