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Next Man In: Babar Azam

What you need to know about a potential star of world cricket, Pakistan batsman Babar Azam.

AGE: 22

TEAM: Pakistan

Next man in

  • ROLE: Right-hand top-order batsman


  • WHO THE HELL? The latest young star of Pakistani batting. With a classical, upright technique and a cover-drive that could launch a thousand ships, Azam has already shown remarkable consistency across all formats: a first-class average of 41.33 is impressive and his List A and T20 averages, from a decent number of matches, are up there with the very best, being the tenth- and third-highest of all time respectively. Fifties in all three international formats suggest he has the ability to carry on his success at the highest level, and he’s currently doing his thing in the Test team on Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand. Although results haven’t been ideal, he’s started very encouragingly.


  • WHAT’S HIS STORY? A cousin of the Akmals but considered somewhat more level-headed, Azam has long been touted as a future captain after leading Pakistan’s under 15 and under 19 sides. He was the second highest run-getter, and the only Pakistani to pass 50 in a final loss to the West Indies, in the CLICO International Under 15 Championships; the third-highest scorer in the 2010 Under 19 World Cup as Pakistan were again beaten finalists; and second top-scorer in the 2012 Under 19 World Cup, a tournament in which Pakistan were again defeated in agonising fashion, this time by rivals India, losing by one wicket at the quarter-final stage.
  • GOOD TIMES? Babar Azam announced himself with an astonishing display in the recent ODI series against West Indies. Three games, three tons, three Man of the Match awards, and, most importantly for Pakistan, three wins that eased the threat of having to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.


  • CHALLENGES? He notched up a half-century on Test debut, in October’s day/night classic against West Indies, but made way for a fit-again Younus Khan for the remainder of the series. He was then given the No.3 slot in Pakistan’s current series versus New Zealand, batting for 90 minutes for 29 in the second innings as Pakistan were sunk by eight wickets in the first Test and making 90 in the second Test (we won’t mention the collapse that followed…). Australia lie in wait…


  • FINAL WORD: “Babar Azam is a very good player. He will get a few short balls and if he plays one or two poorly then suddenly everyone claims that he can’t play the short ball. Babar is good enough to deal with that. In terms of our future planning, Babar Azam is a big part of that.” Mickey Arthur, Pakistan coach

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of World Views Pakistan