Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill said Pakistan captain Babar Azam is a world-class batsman with impressive T20 numbers.
Guptill’s comments come ahead of the resumption of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Abu Dhabi from June 9 to 24, where he and Azam will both play for the Kings.
Azam made scores of 103, 31 and 94 in the ODI series against South Africa, giving him a total of 228 runs at an average of 76.
As for the T20 series, he made 14 and 50 in the first two matches before hammering a career-best 122, which came off 59 balls and included 15 boundaries and four sixes, in the third T20 International.
In the fourth game, he was dismissed for 24 and thus finished with 210 runs in four matches at an average of 52.50 and a strike-rate of 143.83.
He amassed 95 runs in the three-match T20 series against Zimbabwe, which included a top score of 52, at an average of 31.66 and a strike-rate of 100.
During that series, he became the fastest batsman to score 2,000 runs in T20 Internationals.
In the Test series against Zimbabwe, Azam mustered two runs at an average of one.
Prior to the PSL’s postponement earlier this year, Azam was the second-highest run-scorer with 258 runs in five matches, which included three half-centuries, at an average of 86 and a strike-rate of 138.70.
“I am really looking forward to batting with Babar Azam, who is a world-class batter with impressive T20 numbers. My aim would be to provide a great start for the side along with him and Sharjeel (Khan),” Guptill told pcb.com.pk as quoted by Cricket Pakistan.
Guptill will be heading into the PSL in good form as he was the top run-scorer in New Zealand’s T20 series against Australia in March.
He scored 218 runs in five matches, which included two fifties, at an average of 43.60 and a strike-rate of 159.12.
In the ODI series against Bangladesh, he made 84 runs in three games at an average of 28.
As for the T20 series that followed, he was the second-highest run-scorer with 100 runs in three matches at an average of 33.33 and a strike-rate of 156.25.
The Kings will be back in action on June 10 when they take on the Multan Sultans.