There is a saying among most of the youngsters of this generation that,” people will know you have a strong heart and guts if you are a Pakistani cricket team or South African Cricket team’s fan-base.”.
Both these team wear distinctively different green colors in their national jersey but carries similar unpredictability when it comes to major series and tournaments in cricket.
When you hear Pakistan cricket, you immediately remember Wasim Akram , Waqar Younis , Shoaib Akhtar and fierce pace , reverse swing and bounce. Pakistan has been known for irks pacer. Rarely batsmen come and do well for consistent period of time.
There were handful of batsman who made an actual impact.Javed Miandad the initiator, Saeed Anwar’s flawless opening, Inzamam’s glorious wrist work, Mohammad Yousuf’s class and Younis Khan’s grit.
Besides them we can barely remember any batsman doing well for quite period. Since Pakistan is not producing much of quality batsman these days we can say that even these players weren’t able to inspire another generation to take a bat in hand and imitate them.
Though quite a few were inspired despite of having very little rise of them in international arena for cricket.
Among those inspired there was a 10 years old kid, playing cricket in a narrow street of Karachi, knowing nothing what future holds for him.
He went up through the ranks, played various age level tournaments around the country, dominated quite a few, although he didn’t make noticing impact in U19 World cup.
He didn’t lose his faith and did all the hard works and finally made an appearance in the national team after four years against West Indies and scored three consecutive centuries. He is the stylish modern generation batsmen Babar Azam.
Right after that three consecutive centuries, pakistani media and former players started comparing him with Virat Kohli, they always do whenever a new comer comes and scores in handful of matches.
It was not the first time though. They did it with Mohammad Hafeez , Ahmed Shehzad , Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal but they didn’t perform as expected going forward. They went downhill.
Infact , Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal doesn’t even feature in any form of the game now. Such has been the case in the past. So, no one outside pakistan cared much about the new lad, thinking he won’t replicate the same in matches ahead.
But to our suprise he kept on performing , became fastest player to thousand ODI runs and then two thousand and finally world started noticing that the kid has something in him.
Although his first class record weren’t that good (to his caliber), his technique was right to introduce him in longer format. He didn’t click straight away though. It took him while to settle in red ball cricket. Many experts were quick enough to say he is only limited over player.
But Babar proved them wrong when he thrashed Dale Steyn all over the parks in recent South Africa tour. And then he went down under and scored fluently against fiery pace and bounce.
He is yet to be tested properly in English conditions, but he showed promise scoring 60 odd runs in his very first tour under difficult circumstances.
Alas! His wirst was broken and he had to leave that series middle way. Also that match winning unbeaten hundred against New zealand in 2019 world cup showed how much he has grown as a cricketer.
This month he completed his five years in international cricket. Up until now he has done very well. In fact, he has scored nearly twice as much as runs then any individual in his team since his debut.
Recently Pakistan Cricket Board made him captain of limited over formats. I don’t know if it was the right move or not. I doubt because as a fan of him I don’t want him to go downhill like others who did after becoming captain.
Likes of Hafeez and Azhar Ali completely lost their batsmanship after being captain. Sarfaraz Ahmed was decent batsman before he was made captain.
Even Joe Root(Captain of England Test team) is letting captaincy effect his batting although in every interview he doesn’t agree , but it is clearly evident by his performance.
I think when your team mostly depends on you and is fragile otherwise; the burden of captaincy will affect you more. Right now the test side of England and for how many years, limited over side of Pakistan has been that kind of team.
That may be the reason why Joe Root had to think more of him since in tests he is the most dependable batsman for them at the moment. On the other hand, Kohli looks great captain because he has a great team.
So I just fear if captaincy takes a toll on Babar Azam and he might go downhill with his batting. But it’s all doubt. Hopefully it won’t. But south asian culture is such that we forgot everything they did for the team, and just point out whenever they fail.
With all the white noises he would be getting whenever he and the team doesn’t perform well , Babar must not let that take a toll on his cricket. I just wish him well going forward. And hope he becomes one of the best batsmen across all the formats.
Every batsman has his weakness and now is such modern era with video analysis; a bowling team can find it quicker than ever. But it has been five years to his international career, there’s no area of uncertainty for Babar until now and with more time spend on the pitch, he is certainly someone who will get better with time.
His positive approach in the pitch is what makes him stand out like other great batsmen in cricketing age till now. Although five years have gone he has this knack of getting out trying to put extra effort as an aggressor all of a certain.
The composed cover drive on the rise of Babar is always his standout signature shot like a full bladed cover drive of sublime Kohli, Smith and Williamson who undoubtedly are the current trios of world cricket.
These batsmen are the reason that people picks up willow today like they used to do when Tendulkar, Lara, Kallis, Ponting used to inspire a generation with those timings and fierce approach.
As many youngsters follow their idol not only in stadiums and television like in the 90’s, social media stalking is nothing new to our generation. I did the same while I was jotting those words and found something special that Azam has shared in his Twitter few days before stating “Face the first as well as the last ball of the game”.
These magical words of his coach and mentor is what we wish from a talented youngster who has every bits and pieces to rule the hearts of millions of his followers and inspire them to pick up kit bags and live their dream of representing their individual nation with pride.