Babar Azam

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Babar Azam
بابر اعظم
Babar Azam.png
Personal information
Full nameMohammad Babar Azam
Born (1994-10-15) 15 October 1994 (age 25)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Height1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
BattingRight-handed
BowlingRight-arm off-break
RoleTop-order batsman
RelationsKamran Akmal (cousin)
Umar Akmal (cousin)
Adnan Akmal (cousin)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 222)13 October 2016 v West Indies
Last Test7 February 2020 v Bangladesh
ODI debut (cap 203)31 May 2015 v Zimbabwe
Last ODI2 October 2019 v Sri Lanka
ODI shirt no.56
T20I debut (cap 70)7 September 2016 v England
Last T20I25 January 2020 v Bangladesh
T20I shirt no.56
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
2010/11–2013/14Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd
2012/13–2014/15Islamabad Leopards
2014/15State Bank of Pakistan
2015/16–2017/18Sui Southern Gas Corporation
2016Islamabad United (squad no. 31)
2017–presentKarachi Kings (squad no. 56)
2017Guyana Amazon Warriors (squad no. 56)
2017Sylhet Sixers (squad no. 56)
2019Somerset (squad no. 56)
2019/20Central Punjab (squad no. 56)
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI T20I FC
Matches 26 74 38 61
Runs scored 1,850 3,359 1,471 3,805
Batting average 45.12 54.17 50.72 42.75
100s/50s 5/13 11/15 0/13 8/25
Top score 143 125* 97* 266
Balls bowled 720
Wickets 5
Bowling average 84.60
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 1/13
Catches/stumpings 19/– 36/– 15/– 41/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 7 February 2020

Mohammad Babar Azam (Urdu: محمد بابر اعظم‎; born 15 October 1994) is a Pakistani cricketer who captains the Pakistan national team in limited overs cricket and is a top-order batsman.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Babar Azam was born on 15 October 1994 in Lahore, Punjab to a Punjabi Muslim family. He began his domestic cricket career there.

International career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In May 2015, Babar was included in the Pakistani ODI squad for home series against Zimbabwe. He made his ODI debut in the third ODI on 31 May and scored an impressive fifty scoring 54 runs off 60 balls.[3] His impressive debut earned him a place in both Test and ODI squads selected for an away series against Sri Lanka. He couldn't get a chance in Test series. During the ODI series he could only score 37 runs in two matches that he played.[4]

Babar was included in the squad for the away ODI series against Zimbabwe in September 2015 but was not given a chance to play in the series. Pakistan won the series 2–1.[5]

In October, he was dropped from the Test squad without playing a Test. He was retained in the ODI squad for the home series against England. In the first ODI of the four match series he scored 62 not out with a strike rate of 100 which helped Pakistan win the match.[6] He had scores of 4, 22 and 51 in next three matches respectively.[7] He finished the series with 139 runs at an average of 46.33.[8]

In January 2016, Pakistan toured New Zealand. In the first ODI match, Babar scored 62 runs off 76 balls. Pakistan lost the match by 70 runs.[9] The second ODI match was abandoned due to heavy rain. In the third ODI, he scored a brilliant 83 off just 77 balls. Despite Pakistan losing the match and the series, Babar was much praised by cricket experts. He was the leading run scorer in the ODI series with 145 runs in 2 innings at an average of 72.50.[10]

In the five-match ODI series against England in July, he batted in five games and only scored 122 runs.[11] Besides the England series, Pakistan played two match ODI series against Ireland. Babar scored 29 runs in the first match with the other ODI abandoned due to rain. Pakistan won the series 1–0.

He made his Twenty20 International debut for Pakistan against England on 7 September. He scored an unbeaten 15 runs off 11 balls. Pakistan won the match and series.[12]

Rise in shorter formats and breaking records[edit]

Babar Azam was selected in the home series against the West Indies. In the first match of the ODI series he scored his maiden international century, scoring 120 off 131 balls and winning his first man of the match award.[13] In the second ODI he continued his excellent form, scoring another century, this time much quicker than the previous one, scoring 123 off 126 balls. His century enabled Pakistan to put a total over 330.[7] Pakistan won the match and Babar got his second Man of the Match award. In the third and final ODI of the series Azam ended up scoring third consecutive century (117 from 106)[7] and became the third batsman for Pakistan to score hundreds in three successive ODI innings. He also broke the record for scoring the most runs (360) in a three match ODI series.[14] He became the only batsman to score 350+ runs in a three match ODI series.[15][16][17]

He made his Test debut for Pakistan against the West Indies in Dubai on 13 October 2016 and scored 69 runs in his first innings.[18] He was the first player to score a fifty on his Test debut through a day/night Test.[19]

On 19 January 2017, in the third ODI against Australia, Azam became then joint-fastest player to score 1,000 runs in ODIs and then fastest for Pakistan in his 21st innings before his national record and world record were eclipsed by his compatriot Fakhar Zaman.[20][21] He finished the ODI series as the leading run-scorer for Pakistan with 282 runs in 5 innings, including a century in 5th ODI, which was only the second century ever scored by a Pakistani batsman in Australia after Zaheer Abbas in 1981.[22] He also entered the top 10 batsmen's ranking in ODIs for the first time ever.[23]

Sarfaraz Ahmed replaced Azhar Ali as Pakistan's ODI team captain against the West Indies after Azhar Ali stepped down from the captaincy after a humiliating defeat against Australia in odi series. Azam was appointed as vice-captain in ODIs for the tour. He scored an unbeaten 125 in the 2nd ODI of the three–match ODI series at Providence Stadium, Guyana.[7] Batting first, Pakistan was struggling at one stage and were 183 for 5. Azam along with Imad Wasim put on an unbeaten 99 runs partnership which helped Pakistan post a competitive total of 282 on the board.[24] Meanwhile, Azam also broke the record of scoring the most runs after the first 25 ODI innings in this match.[25] In the end Pakistan won the match easily. Azam for his match winning knock won the Man of the Match award. He had scores of 13 and 16 in first and third match of the series respectively.[7] Pakistan won the ODI series 2–1.

In the Champions Trophy 2017, Azam scored a crucial 46 off 52 balls in the final match against India.[7] Pakistan won the final match by 180 runs and lifted the Champions Trophy. It was Azam's first international tournament.

After a successful Champions trophy tour, ICC sent the World XI team in Pakistan where they played three T20I matches. Azam was the top runs-getter in the series, scoring 179. In the first T20I played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, he scored 86 playing only 52 balls[26] in the first T20 in the series, and won his first Man of the match award in T20I. Pakistan won the match by 20 runs. [27] He had scores of 45 and 48 in the next two fixtures.[26]

In September 2017, he had a poor Test series against Sri Lanka, where he managed to score only 39 runs across 2 Test matches.[28] However, he continued his dominance in LOIs and came back strongly in the ODI series, scoring consecutive centuries in first two ODIs of the five match series. In the second ODI he became the fastest batsman to score 7th ODI century in ODIs[29] and the first batsman in ODI history to score five consecutive centuries in one country.[30] He had scores of 30 and 69 (not out) in next two innings while chasing.[7] He finished the series as the leading runs-scorer with 303 runs at an impressive average of 101. Pakistan whitewashed Sri Lanka (5–0).

He was the leading runs-scorer for Pakistan in 2016 in ODIs and T20Is with 872 and 352 runs respectively.[31][32] At the 2017 PCB awards, he was awarded Pakistan's ODI Player of the year.[33] He was also listed in 2017's ICC World ODI XI for the first time ever.[34]

Pakistan's first assignment in 2018 was tour to New Zealand. Babar was an automatic selection in the ODI team. However he could score only 0, 10, 8, 3, 10 across 5 innings, scoring only 31 runs at an average of 6.2 as Pakistan were whitewashed 5–0.[7] But performed well in the T20I series as Pakistan went on to win the series 2–1. Babar was the leading run scorer with 109 runs. He had scores of 41, 50* and 18 in these T20Is.[26] He became the no.1 T20I batsmen, the second to reach the feat after Misbah-ul-Haq,[35] but soon slipped to no. 3 position. He regained no. 1 spot in the rankings after a successful series against West Indies, who were touring Pakistan after thirteen years.[36] He finished the series with most runs and winning Man of the series award as well, scoring 165 runs at an average of 82.50 and a strike rate of 148.64. His best performance came in the second T20I where he scored an unbeaten 97 runs which won him Man of the match award.[37][38] He scored 17 and 51 in 1st and 3rd T20I respectively.[26] Pakistan won the series 3–0.

During a Test match against England in May 2018, Azam was struck on the arm without padding by a bouncer from Ben Stokes, when he was batting on 68. After an X-ray examination, it was confirmed that Azam had a fracture in his left wrist with a broken forearm.[39] As a result of this injury, he missed 4 to 6 weeks of cricket for rest and recuperation.

After fully recovering from his injury, he made his return to the side against Zimbabwe in July for a five-match ODI series.[40] He performed well and managed to score 184 runs at an average of 184 in 4 innings[41] including 76 balls 106 runs in the final odi of the series.[7] Pakistan won the series 5–0.

In September 2018, he was selected for 2018 Asia Cup held in UAE.[42] Playing his first Asia Cup, he didn't have a good time of it, only managing to score 156 runs at an average of 31.20 in 5 matches.[43]

In November 2018, in the second Test against New Zealand, Azam scored his first century in Test cricket.[44]

2019 Cricket World Cup[edit]

In April 2019, he was named in Pakistan's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.[45][46] The International Cricket Council (ICC) named him as one of the five exciting talents making their Cricket World Cup debut.[47]

In May 2019, he was signed by Somerset as their overseas player for the 2019 t20 Blast.[48][49][50][51]

Just before the World Cup, Pakistan played against England in one-off T20I and 5-match ODI series to prepare for the tournament. In the T20I fixture he scored 65 from 42 balls before getting run-out. In the 5-match ODI series, he ended up as the joint leading runs-scorer, scoring 277 runs including a century and two half-centuries, going into the World Cup with runs under his belt.[52] On 26 June 2019, in the match against New Zealand, Azam became the fastest batsman for Pakistan, in terms of innings, to score 3,000 runs in ODIs (68).[53] In the same match, he also scored his 10th century in ODIs, finishing 101 not out, with Pakistan winning by 6 wickets.[54][55][56] With this century, he also became the first middle-order batsman from Pakistan to hit a century in a World Cup match after 32 years.[57] A week later, in the match against Bangladesh, Babar broke Javed Miandad's record of the most runs by a Pakistani batsman in a single edition of the World Cup, scoring 474 runs in 8 innings.[58]

Test Performances and Leadership roles[edit]

In September 2019, before the home series against Sri Lanka, he was named as the vice captain of Pakistan cricket team in both ODIs and T20Is on the back of his consistent performances over the years in these formats.[59][60]

After the first ODI was washed out, Pakistan managed to win both of the remaining matches to clinch the series 2–0. He scored his 11th ton in the second ODI and became the fastest Pakistani player to reach 1,000 ODI runs in terms of innings in a calendar year beating the previous record of Javed Miandad.[61][62] He was named Man of the series for his 146 runs in 2 innings.

In October 2019, he was named captain of the Pakistan cricket team in T20Is, ahead of the Australia series.[63] Pakistan lost the T20I series 2–0. He was the leading runs-scorer of the series.

"I thought Babar was extremely impressive. Looks to have a lot of class and could well become one of the best batsmen in the world."

— Australian Legend Ricky Ponting on Babar Azam's performances on Australian Tour.[64]

In the first Test of the series, he scored his second Test century against a strong bowling line up.[65][66][67] He missed out on his second consecutive century when he got out on 97 in the second test match.[68] He scored 210 runs with an average of 52.50.[69]

In December 2019, Sri Lanka returned to Pakistan for a two match test series. This marked the return of Test cricket in Pakistan after a decade, with Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium hosting the first test match. Babar batting in his first ever test inning on home soil, scored an unbeaten quick fire century on day 5 of the rain affected test match, resulting in a draw. [70] In the Second test match played at National Stadium, he scored 60 and 100 not out respectively,[71] ending the series with 262 runs with an average of exactly 262.[72] He was listed in 2019's ICC World ODI XI, making the list for the second time.[73]

In January 2020, Bangladesh toured Pakistan for a three match T20I series, with Azam captaining Pakistan for the first time at home.[74] Pakistan won the T20I series 2–0, with the third match abandoned due to rain. It was Pakistan's first series win under his captaincy and his first Player of the series award as captain.[75] /ref> Pakistan won the T20I series 2–0, with the third match abandoned due to rain. It was Pakistan's first series win under his captaincy and his first Player of the series award as captain.

In May 2020, he was appointed as ODI captain. [2]

Domestic and franchise cricket[edit]

Babar initially played domestic cricket for the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited cricket team and Islamabad Leopards. He went on to play first-class cricket for both the State Bank of Pakistan cricket team and Sui Southern Gas Company cricket team. In September 2019, Babar was named as the captain of Central Punjab for the 2019–20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.[76][77] His team went on to win the trophy after defeating Northern in the final.[78] He remained captain for the 2019-20 National T20 Cup. He scored century in his first match, becoming the first Pakistani player to score three centuries in Twenty20 cricket in a calendar year.[citation needed]

Babar has played Twenty20 cricket for a number of franchise sides. He played for Islamabad United in the first edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL). Before the 2017 PSL draft he moved to Karachi Kings.[79] He performed well in the in 2017, scoring 291 runs at a batting average of 32.33 runs per innings and finishing the tournament as the second leading runs-scorer behind his cousin Kamran Akmal.[80] He was retained by the Kings for the 2018 season[81] and was the third-highest run-scorer with five half-centuries.[82] He was again retained ahead of the 2019 Pakistan Super League[83] and the 2020 season and was appointed as vice captain.[84][85]

In 2017 Babar also played for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League and Sylhet Sixers in the Bangladesh Premier League. Somerset signed Babar for the 2019 t20 Blast county cricket competition.[48][49][50][51] He was the competition's highest run-scorer with 578 runs in 13 matches including four half-centuries and one century and recorded a batting average of 52.54 runs per innings.[86] In January 2019, it was announced that he would rejoin Somerset for 12 matches in the 2020 t20 Blast as well as for two first-class matches.[87]

Records and achievements[edit]

As of April 2020 Babar has scored 16 international centuries, five in Test matches and 11 in One Day Internationals. He was the leading Test run scorer for Pakistan in both 2018 and 2019 and leading ODI scorer for the team in 2016, 2017 and 2019.[citation needed] He was named in the ICC ODI Team of the Year in 2017 and 2019 and as the Pakistan Cricket Board's ODI player of the year in 2017 and T20I player of the year in 2018.[33][34][88][89]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sarfaraz Ahmed
Pakistani national cricket captain (T20I)
2019–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Sarfaraz Ahmed
Pakistani national cricket captain (ODI)
2020–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent