On Friday, Babar Azam will captain Pakistan in the three T20I series against Bangladesh at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
25-year-old player Babar, made his international debut in September 2016 and became one of the best players in ICC batting charts following his consistent performance in a little span of time.
In T20I ranking, Azam is ranked seventh in Tests and third in the ODIs – a hallmark of a batsman who is on course to achieve greater heights.
He is only the second batsman in the circuit in Twenty20 Internationals, with a score of over 50. He’s scored 1,405 runs at an average of 50.17 in 36 matches and only India’s Virat Kohli is above him, averaging 52.72 after scoring 2,689 runs in 78 matches.
Babar was appointed as Pakistan cricket team’s captain in September 2019, this will be the first time for the Lahore-born star to captain his country infront of his home crowds.
“It seems like yesterday when I walked every day for almost three miles to get to the Gaddafi Stadium and work as a ball-boy for the 2007 second Test between Pakistan and South Africa,” Babar recalled, adding: “It was the love for the game and the attraction of some of the stalwarts like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn that pulled me to the home of Pakistan cricket without caring for anything else.“
“For me, it was the incentive of being closer to Test cricket and legends of the game. Pats on the back and smiles from the Test players during that match were my ultimate rewards. For any youngster, it is certainly once in a lifetime experience.”
“I think it was that passion, combined with a bid of cricket madness and stroke of luck that has helped me to become who I am today. I have been very fortunate that in this journey, people have held my hand, coached and mentored me, and always stood beside me in my good and bad days.”
“I owe all my success to all those unsung heroes and now it is my responsibility to continue to strive for excellence so that I can match the expectations, both as a player and captain.”
Babar played 10 T20Is at home and it’s no wonder he’s always left a big mark on it. He has scored 86, 45, 48 (against ICC World XI in Lahore), 34 not out (against Sri Lanka in 2017), 17, 97 not out, 51 (against Karachi’s West Indies) and 13, 3 and 27 (against Lahore’s Sri Lanka).
“There is no better feeling when you walk out to bat with your fans behind you. You feel that additional comfort that you are in a familiar territory then you grow in confidence every time you hear the applause for a good shot.”
“This is what Pakistan cricket had been missing for the past decade or so. I am from that generation of Pakistan cricketers who grew and established ourselves away from our home conditions and fans. If you compare us with the cricketers from other countries who have made their debuts in the past 10 years, you will realize the additional hardships and challenges we had to go through.”
“But this is now all behind us and we look for a better future for our cricket and cricketers.”
While talking about captaining against Bangaldesh, Babar said,
“Captaining your country is the biggest responsibility and honour one can get. I have always aspired to play hard but fair cricket, and that’s what I will like to do as long as I am representing Pakistan.”
“Since the tour has been announced, I have been excited about the prospect of leading an extremely talented bunch of players onto the field. Frankly, this is what I used to dream as a young boy, and that dream is now about to turn reality.”
“No matter how young or experienced you are, learning process continues. This series will also be part of that process, having said that there will be no room for ordinary performances. We are expected to deliver the goods every time we represent Pakistan and there will be no change to that philosophy.”
“We have some young but talented cricketers and if you mix them with the experience of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, then it becomes a good blend. The two have played nearly 200 T02I between them and now it is up to them to learn from their experiences and not only learn tricks of the trade but also put an end to our run of unfavourable results in the past few matches.”
“I firmly believe we are a much better and stronger unit despite losing eight of the last nine matches. We need to get back to our winning habit from this series and so that we can bury the demons of the past few matches.”