Ricky Ponting makes unbelievably bold claim about Pakistan batsman Babar Azam

Ricky Ponting believes people haven't seen the best of Babar Azam yet Australia Pakistan cricket

Ricky Ponting: “We haven’t seen the best of him yet”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Legendary Australia captain Ricky Ponting has made an incredibly bold claim about Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, saying “we haven’t seen the best of him yet”.

Ponting’s high praise for Azam comes after the 25-year-old, who is Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain, scored 115 runs in the three-match Twenty20 series against Australia, which included two half-centuries, at an average of 57.50 and a strike-rate of 138.55.

He followed that up with an unbeaten 157, which came off 197 balls and included 24 boundaries, in the practice game against Australia A in Perth and a 66-ball 63, which included nine boundaries and a six, against the Cricket Australia XI.

“We haven’t seen the best of him yet,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “Twenty-odd Tests for an average of 35 – he’s better than that. He averages 54 in one-day cricket at a strike-rate of about 90.

“He’s a very, very classy player. He’s a really exciting talent and probably the guy I’m looking forward to seeing the most this summer. I’ve seen the Aussies a lot and I’ve seen a lot of the Kiwis, but I’m really excited to see him. He could be anything.”

Ponting recalled how Azam struck seven boundaries in 28 balls when Pakistan went head to head against Australia during the World Cup earlier this year.

“He looked like he was playing a different game,” Ponting, who was an assistant coach for Australia during the major cricketing event, said. “As soon as we over-pitched, he banged it through the covers or banged it down the ground. And when we dropped short, he got onto that pretty quickly as well.”

Ponting also noted that keeping Azam away from the new ball in the upcoming two-Test series, which will begin on November 21 in Brisbane, will “get the best out of him”.

“What they’ve tried with him before obviously hasn’t worked (because) when you watch him bat, he’s better than a 35 average,” he said. “If they can massage him and help him through a little bit, keep him away from the new ball a little bit here in Australia, then I think they’ll get the best out of him.”

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