Babar sets sights on reaching Test summit

Pakistan's Babar Azam celebrates his century during the fourth One Day International (ODI) cricket match between England and Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on May 17, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB

CENTURION: After climbing to the top of the ICC’s men’s One-day International (ODI) batting rankings, Babar Azam has now his eyes set on doing the same in Test cricket.

Babar followed in the footsteps of Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf on Wednesday as he became the fourth player from Pakistan to sit atop the ODI batting rankings “This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time,” Babar said.

Having previously been the top batter on the ICC men’s T20 International rankings, the one format Babar has not yet reached the summit of is Test cricket. Currently sixth on the Test batting rankings, he hopes to change that as soon as possible.

“I feel privileged and honoured to have joined the company of stalwarts like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf, who will always be the shining stars of Pakistan cricket,” he said. “I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman’s calibre, reputation and skills.”

The 26-year-old celebrated his move to the top of the ODI batting rankings in style on Wednesday, scoring a thrilling 59-ball 122 as Pakistan completed a 204-run chase to win the third T20I against South Africa.

Speaking after the match, he confirmed becoming the No.1 ODI batsman had been a lifelong dream.

“It had always been my dream to be number one and that has been fulfilled,” he said. “There was lots of hard work, suffering, and sacrifice needed to get there. I have always been trying to improve my game with each passing day, learning new things and applying them. We all know cricket evolves and you have to keep up with it or risk getting left behind.”