Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur firmly believes that batsman and T20 captain Babar Azam is “in the top five batsmen in the world in all forms of the game”.
Azam recently represented the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he finished as the tournament’s highest run-scorer with 345 runs in 10 games for the Kings at an average of 49.28 and a strike-rate of 123.65.
Overall, the 25-year-old has been Pakistan’s most consistent player over the past 12 months.
“I believe Babar is in the top five batsmen in the world in all forms of the game,” Arthur, who now coaches Sri Lanka, told Pinch Hitter magazine as quoted by Cricket Pakistan. “We saw talent and potential in him in his early days and I know that we used to get so much flak for playing Babar in Test matches when people would say that he wasn’t ready.
“But that was my one non-negotiable condition that Babar had to play every game for Pakistan. This was because I could see how good this guy was and I knew that if we invested in him, he would reward Pakistan cricket’s faith in him down the line which, I am glad to say, is coming to fruition now.
“I feel that he needed that game-time to develop, particularly in red-ball cricket. This is because white-ball cricket is a relatively easier game to play but it’s Test cricket where your skills are tested on tough wickets. We needed him to go through those trials and tribulations early in his career to allow him to get to where is now.”