He combated Shoaib Akhtar, Rashid Latif knew Pakistan batsman would make it big

Rashid Latif said Pakistan captain Babar Azam combated Shoaib Akhtar

Rashid Latif: “I watched him batting in the nets and Shoaib [Akhtar] was bowling fast in the nets. Babar was little but the way he was playing, I could see that he would turn into a big player in future”

Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani

Rashid Latif, the former wicketkeeper-batsman, recalled the first time he saw Pakistan captain Babar Azam was when he combated legendary fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in the nets.

This occurred when the 28-year-old was in the Pakistan Under-15 team and got the chance to face the Rawalpindi Express, who holds the record for the fastest ball bowled at 161.3 kph (100.2 mph).

Latif remembered that Akhtar was bowling fast in the nets, but Azam managed to hold his own against some fiery deliveries.

That was the moment Latif knew that Azam would make it big and become a superstar.

“Babar was going to West Indies with [the] Under-15 team when I watched him for the first time. At that time, I was hired as a wicketkeeping coach by PCB. I watched him batting in the nets and Shoaib [Akhtar] was bowling fast in the nets. Babar was little but the way he was playing, I could see that he would turn into a big player in future,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.

Azam recently captained Pakistan in their two-Test series against Sri Lanka, which the men in green won 2-0.

However, he wasn’t at his best with the bat, amassing 76 runs at an average of 25.33.

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