Unpopular Opinion: Babar Azam is the best cricketer in the world right now
Babar Azam (PC: Twitter)
A quiet but ambitious player from Lahore enters the international stage at 20 years old. Known for being shy and timid, he is a master at timing and finding gaps. Labelled as Pakistan's answer to 'Virat Kohli', Babar has had a stark rise in the last seven years. He started his career with a promising knock of 69 against Zimbabwe in 2015, but alas, it was just a glimpse into the 'Babar Masterclass' that the world would witness.
The Babar Firsts
Babar Azam was quick to establish his dominance in every format of the game, marking his territory by collecting milestones and creating records.
- Most hundreds in a series (6)
- Fastest player to reach 2500 T20 runs (62 innings)
- Most consecutive fifties (9)
- Most runs in an ODI series (1305)
- Most runs in a series by a captain (1305)
Why the Virat Kohli comparison?
One of the legendary Pakistani batters Inzamam-ul-Haq had asked Azam how he felt about getting compared to Virat Kohli, to which the Babar had replied
"Why are their names on top? They are recognised because they win matches for their teams. Their top performances were noted for the wins. I made that change myself. Win Games."
Babar Azam and Virat Kohli
The starting point to the Babar-Kohli comparison began when fans noticed his striking cover drives; a trademark Virat Kohli shot. Steadily, the Pakistan batter would go on to break Kohli's records.
In the latest T20 ranking boosts, Babar shattered another Kohli record by claiming the top ICC T20I batting spot for the longest period of time. Currently, Azam is the number 1 ICC batter in ODIs and 3rd in T20s.
While one of the greatest batters of his time has been struggling to perform consistently, Azam has been churning out runs like a daily errand; while also remaining the captain in all three formats.
Babar has consistently performed under pressure; another Virat Kohli trait. Taking Pakistan's performance in the last T20 World Cup as an example, Azam was the key reason for Pakistan's spot in the semi-finals. Comparing India and Pakistan's batting lineup, both are quite reliant on their skippers (Virat, the former skipper). And the biggest similarity between the two has been their improvement in numbers after taking on captaincy.
Babar: A top player in all formats
Babar Azam was once the only batter to occupy the top 3 spots in all three formats of the game.
It is safe to say that the Lahore-born has supremacy over the world of cricket right now.
Babar Azam hitting a cover drive
When talking about his captaincy, Babar is the person who knows what to say and when to say it. After Pakistan's exit from the T20 World Cup in 2021, Babar had delivered a striking dressing room speech and the speech turned out to be just what the fans and his peers needed.
Remarking on the bigger picture, there are so little complaints.
He has displayed a stellar performance in all formats and against every type of bowler with his agile footwork and spectacular timing. The intent that he is proceeding with is especially worth mentioning. Moving forward with an iron will to be the number 1 in all formats Babar has proved that he is no regular man.