Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Babar Azam comes of age in Tests

For the Pakistan fans and the cricketing world in general, Babar Azam has been an enigma.

Till recently he was even criticized for not being "test material".

For some, rightly so, considering he had played 16 tests, batted in 31 innings, and had not scored a century. To top it off, his test average was below 30.

At the same time, he was totally rocking white ball cricket as the only batsman in the world with a 50+ average in both ODIs and T20Is.

In a career that is 3 years old, Babar started his 17th test having smashed 8 ODI centuries, 9 ODI fifties, 8 T20I fifties, and 8 Test fifties.

Despite a 99 in the series against Australia and an unbeaten 90 in New Zealand, Babar was criticized heavily for not converting starts in tests and for not being a test batsman.

It all changed during his 32nd test inning.

As Pakistan added to New Zealand's agony in the field over two days during the second test, Babar was instrumental in taking Pakistan past 400 as he knocked his first test ton.

Babar's unbeaten 127 was a coming of age innings.

He finally crossed the barrier of the nervous nineties and he finally showed the world that he can bat in whites too.

No doubt that he has been extremely prolific in limited overs cricket and has not been able to extend that form to test cricket, but at least now he has brought up the coveted first test century.

From hereon, there should be no looking back for Babar Azam, who is Pakistan's first true all format batsman since the days of Inzamam Ul Haq.

Even though Babar had not scored a test ton, I feel the criticism he received was a bit unfair.

If one is to look at his test scores before the 100, then this season against Australia and New Zealand, he had scores of 4, 28*, 0, 99, 62, 13. Not mind blowing but also not worthy of criticism.

Even prior to that he scored 68 against England in Pakistan's victory at Lord's an innings that was cut short due to injury. He really looked like scoring a century during that innings.

What is even more interesting is that for all batsmen that have batted in at least 10 test innings in 2018, Babar Azam has the best average!

Even better than Virat Kohli's!


Look at the batsmen he is performing better than - ABD, Root - both modern legends of the game.

Now that Babar has reached his first test ton, I don't think he will ever look back. The runs will flow from his bat in tests and there is no doubt in my mind that he will become one of the best, if not the best, batsman to ever play for Pakistan.

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