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Mohammad Babar Azam (Urdu: محمد بابر اعظم‎; born 15 October 1994) is a Pakistani cricketer who plays for Pakistan in all three formats.He is the vice-captain of Pakistan cricket team.He played in the U19 team and the A side before making his way into the main team. As of July 2019, he is ranked number three in ODI and number one in T20 batsmen ranking.

Babar Azam
Personal information
Full nameMohammad Babar Azam
Born (1994-10-15) 15 October 1994 (age 24)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
BattingRight-handed
BowlingRight-arm Off break
RoleTop order batsman
RelationsKamran Akmal (Cousin)
Adnan Akmal (Cousin)
Umar Akmal (Cousin)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 222)13 October 2016 v West Indies
Last Test11 January 2019 v South Africa
ODI debut (cap 203)31 May 2015 v Zimbabwe
Last ODI5 July 2019 v Bangladesh
ODI shirt no.56
T20I debut (cap 70)7 September 2016 v England
Last T20I5 May 2019 v England
T20I shirt no.56
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
2010–presentZarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd
2012–2015Islamabad Leopards
2016Islamabad United (squad no. 31)
2016Rangpur Riders
2017 – presentKarachi Kings (squad no. 56)
2017Guyana Amazon Warriors (squad no. 56)
2017Sylhet Sixers (squad no. 56)
2019-presentSomerset (squad no. 56)
2019Dublin Chiefs
2019-presentCentral Punjab
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI T20I LA
Matches 21 72 30 136
Runs scored 1,235 3,213 1,247 6,129
Batting average 35.28 53.55 54.21 52.83
100s/50s 1/11 10/15 0/10 20/33
Top score 127* 125* 97* 142*
Balls bowled 633
Wickets 12
Bowling average 46.25
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match n/a
Best bowling 2/20
Catches/stumpings 16/– 36/– 14/– 63/–
Source: ESPNCricinfo, 5 July 2019

He captained the Pakistan Under-19 cricket team at the 2012 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.[1] He is third joint-fastest to 1,000 ODI runs, second joint-fastest to 2,000 ODI runs and second fastest to 3,000 ODI runs in the world.[2][3][4] He holds the record of scoring most runs after first 25 ODI Innings by any batsman in the world.[5] He also holds the record of scoring most runs in a 3-match ODI series.[6]

Early lifeEdit

Babar Azam was born on 15 October 1994 in Lahore, Punjab to a Punjabi Muslim family. He grew up in the Walled City of Lahore, and began his domestic cricket career there. He comes from a cricketing background, with three of his cousins having represented Pakistan internationally.

International careerEdit

Early careerEdit

In May 2015, Babar was included in the Pakistani ODI squad for home series against Zimbabwe. He made his ODI debut in the third ODI on 31 May and scored an impressive fifty scoring 54 runs off 60 balls.[7] His impressive debut earned him a place in both Test and ODI squads selected for an away series against Sri Lanka. He couldn't get a chance in Test series. During the ODI series he could only score 37 runs in two matches that he played.[8]

Babar was included in the squad for the away ODI series against Zimbabwe in September 2015 but was not given a chance to play in the series. Pakistan won the series 2–1.[9]

In October, he was dropped from the Test squad without playing a Test. He was retained in the ODI squad for the home series against England. In the first ODI of the four match series he scored 62 not out with a strike rate of 100 which helped Pakistan win the match.[10] He had scores of 4, 22 and 51 in next three matches respectively.[11] He finished the series with 139 runs at an average of 46.33.[12]

In January 2016, Pakistan toured New Zealand. In the first ODI match, Babar scored 62 runs off 76 balls. Pakistan lost the match by 70 runs.[13] The second ODI match was abandoned due to heavy rain. In the third ODI, he scored a brilliant 83 off just 77 balls. Despite Pakistan losing the match and the series, Babar was much praised by cricket experts. He was the leading run scorer in the ODI series with 145 runs in 2 innings at an average of 72.50.[14]

In the five-match ODI series against England in July, he batted in five games and only scored 122 runs.[15] Besides the England series, Pakistan played two match ODI series against Ireland. Babar scored 29 runs in the first match with the other ODI abandoned due to rain. Pakistan won the series 1–0.

He made his Twenty20 International debut for Pakistan against England on 7 September. He scored an unbeaten 15 runs off 11 balls. Pakistan won the match and series.[16]

Rise in shorter formats and breaking recordsEdit

Azam was selected in the home series against the West Indies. In the first match of the ODI series he scored his maiden century, scoring 120 off 131 balls and winning his first man of the match award.[17] In the second ODI he continued his excellent form, scoring another century, this time much quicker than the previous one, scoring 123 off 126 balls. His century enabled Pakistan to put a total over 330.[11] Pakistan won the match and Babar got his second Man of the Match award. In the third and final ODI of the series Azam ended up scoring third consecutive century (117 from 106)[11] and became the third batsman for Pakistan to score hundreds in three successive ODI innings. He also broke the record for scoring the most runs (360) in a three match ODI series.[6] He became the only batsman to score 350+ runs in a three match ODI series.[18][19][20]

He made his Test debut for Pakistan against the West Indies in Dubai on 13 October 2016 and scored 69 runs in his first innings.[21] He was the first player to score a fifty on his Test debut through a day/night Test.[22]

On 19 January 2017, in the third ODI against Australia, Azam became then joint-fastest player to score 1,000 runs in ODIs and then fastest for Pakistan in his 21st innings before his national record and world record were eclipsed by his compatriot Fakhar Zaman.[2][23] He finished the ODI series as the leading run-scorer for Pakistan with 282 runs in 5 innings, including a century in 5th ODI, which was only the second century ever scored by a Pakistani batsman in Australia after Zaheer Abbas in 1981.[24] He also entered the top 10 batsmen's ranking in ODIs for the first time ever.[25]

Sarfaraz Ahmed replaced Azhar Ali as Pakistan's ODI team captain against the West Indies after Azhar Ali stepped down from the captaincy after a humiliating defeat against Australia in odi series. Azam was appointed as vice-captain in ODIs for the tour. He scored an unbeaten 125 in the 2nd ODI of the three–match ODI series at Providence Stadium, Guyana.[11] Batting first, Pakistan was struggling at one stage and were 183 for 5. Azam along with Imad Wasim put on an unbeaten 99 runs partnership which helped Pakistan post a competitive total of 282 on the board.[26] Meanwhile, Azam also broke the record of scoring the most runs after the first 25 ODI innings in this match.[5] In the end Pakistan won the match easily. Azam for his match winning knock won the Man of the Match award. He had scores of 13 and 16 in first and third match of the series respectively.[11] Pakistan won the ODI series 2–1.

In the Champions Trophy 2017, Azam scored a crucial 46 off 52 balls in the final match against India.[11] Pakistan won the final match by 180 runs and lifted the Champions Trophy. It was Azam's first international tournament.

After a successful Champions trophy tour, ICC sent the World XI team in Pakistan where they played three T20I matches. Azam was the top runs-getter in the series, scoring 179. In the first T20I played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, he scored 86 playing only 52 balls[27] in the first T20 in the series, and won his first Man of the match award in T20I. Pakistan won the match by 20 runs. [28] He had scores of 45 and 48 in the next two fixtures.[27]

In September 2017, He had a poor test series against Sri Lanka, where he managed to score only 39 runs across 2 test matches.[29] However, he continued his dominance in LOIs and came back strongly in the ODI series, scoring consecutive centuries in first two ODIs of the five match series. In the second ODI he became the fastest batsman to score 7th ODI century in ODIs[30] and the first batsman in ODI history to score five consecutive centuries in one country.[31] He had scores of 30 and 69 (not out) in next two innings while chasing.[11] He finished the series as the leading runs-scorer with 303 runs at an impressive average of 101. Pakistan whitewashed Sri Lanka (5–0).

He was the leading runs-scorer for Pakistan in 2016 in ODIs and T20Is with 872 and 352 runs respectively.[32][33] At the 2017 PCB awards, he was awarded Pakistan's ODI Player of the year.[34] He was also listed in 2017's ICC World ODI XI for the first time ever.[35]

Pakistan's first assignment in 2018 was tour to New Zealand. Babar was an automatic selection in the ODI team. However he could score only 0, 10, 8, 3, 10 across 5 innings, scoring only 31 runs at an average of 6.2 as Pakistan were whitewashed 5–0.[11] But performed well in the T20I series as Pakistan went on to win the series 2–1. Babar was the leading run scorer with 109 runs. He had scores of 41, 50* and 18 in these T20Is.[27] He became the no.1 T20I batsmen, the second to reach the feat after Misbah-ul-Haq,[36] but soon slipped to no. 3 position. He regained no. 1 spot in the rankings after a successful series against West Indies, who were touring Pakistan after thirteen years.[37] He finished the series with most runs and winning Man of the series award as well, scoring 165 runs at an average of 82.50 and a strike rate of 148.64. His best performance came in the second T20I where he scored an unbeaten 97 runs which won him Man of the match award.[38][39] He scored 17 and 51 in 1st and 3rd T20I respectively.[27] Pakistan won the series 3–0. On 12th September 2019 Babar Azam named as the vice-captain of Pakistan cricket team

Test performancesEdit

During a Test match against England in May 2018, Azam was struck on the arm without padding by a bouncer from Ben Stokes, when he was batting on 68. After an X-ray examination, it was confirmed that Azam had a fracture in his left wrist with a broken forearm.[40] As a result of this injury, he missed 4 to 6 weeks of cricket for rest and recuperation.

After fully recovering from his injury, he made his return to the side against Zimbabwe in July for a five-match ODI series.[41] He performed well and managed to score 184 runs at an average of 184 in 4 innings[42] including 76 balls 106 runs in the final odi of the series.[11] Pakistan won the series 5-0.

In September 2018, he was selected for 2018 Asia Cup held in UAE.[43] Playing his first Asia Cup, he didn't have a good time of it, only managing to score 156 runs at an average of 31.20 in 5 matches.[44]

In November 2018, in the second Test against New Zealand, Azam scored his first century in Test cricket.[45]

2019 and Cricket World CupEdit

In April 2019, he was named in Pakistan's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.[46][47] The International Cricket Council (ICC) named him as one of the five exciting talents making their Cricket World Cup debut.[48]

In May 2019, he was signed by Somerset as their overseas player for the 2019 t20 Blast.[49][50][51][52]

Just before the World Cup, Pakistan played against England in one-off T20I and 5-match ODI series to prepare for the tournament. In the T20I fixture he scored 65 from 42 balls before getting run-out. In the 5-match ODI series, he ended up as the joint leading runs-scorer, scoring 277 runs including a century and two half-centuries, going into the World Cup with runs under his belt.[53] On 26 June 2019, in the match against New Zealand, Azam became the fastest batsman for Pakistan, in terms of innings, to score 3,000 runs in ODIs (68).[54] In the same match, he also scored his 10th century in ODIs, finishing 101 not out, with Pakistan winning by 6 wickets.[55][56][57] With this century, he also became the first middle-order batsman from Pakistan to hit a century in a World Cup match after 32 years.[58] A week later, in the match against Bangladesh, Babar broke Javed Miandad's record of the most runs by a Pakistani batsman in a single edition of the World Cup, scoring 474 runs in 8 innings.[59]

In September 2019, before the home series against Sri Lanka, he was named as the vice captain of Pakistan cricket team in both ODIs and T20Is on the back of consistant performances over the years in these formats. [60][61]

Domestic and franchise cricketEdit

Pakistan Super LeagueEdit

Babar was bought by Islamabad United in the first edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) for US$25,000. During a group stage match he suffered a small injury which prevented him in taking any further part in the tournament. Before the 2017 PSL draft he moved to Karachi Kings from Islamabad United; he was bought for US$50,000.[62] He performed well in the 2nd season, scoring 291 runs with an average of 32.33 and finishing the tournament as the second leading runs-scorer behind his cousin Kamran Akmal.[63] He was retained by the Kings for the 3rd season in the 2018 PSL draft in the Diamond category, earning between US$70,000 to US$85,000.[64] Babar was the third-highest runs-scorer in the season, leading runs-scorer from his team, scoring 402 runs in 11 innings with an average of 40.20 at a strike rate of over 122 with 5 fifties. His team finished 3rd in the season.[65]

Ahead of the 2019 season, he was retained by Kings in the Platinum category, moving up from the Diamond category.[66] He scored 335 runs at an average of 30.45, with 3 fifties across 11 matches and finished as 2nd leading runs-scorer for the team behind Colin Ingram.[67]

Other leaguesEdit

In July 2019, he was selected to play for the Dublin Chiefs in the inaugural edition of the Euro T20 Slam cricket tournament.[68][69] However, the following month the tournament was cancelled.[70]

Vitality Blast 2019Edit

Somerset signed Babar to join the squad for 2019 T20 Blast series.[49][50][51][52] His team didn't made it to the semi-finals but he performed well. He scored 578 runs in 13 matches with four half-centuries and one century with an average of 52.54 becoming the highest scorer of the tournament.[71]

Quaid-e-Azam TrophyEdit

In September 2019, Babar was named as the captain of Central Punjab for the 2019–20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament.[72][73]

Records and achievementsEdit

Milestones
  • Third joint-fastest in the world to reach 1,000 ODIs runs. (21 innings)[2]
  • Second joint-fastest in the world and fastest Pakistani as well as fastest Asian to reach 2,000 ODI runs. (45 innings)[3]
  • Second fastest in the world and fastest Asian to reach 3,000 ODI runs. (68 innings)[4][54]
  • Second fastest batsman in the world to reach 5th, 6th and 8th ODI hundreds.[74][30]
  • Fastest batsman in the world to reach 7th ODI hundred (33 innings).[30]
  • Second youngest cricketer to score three consecutive ODI hundreds.
  • Only batsman in ODI history to score 5 consecutive centuries in one country.[31]
  • Most runs (1306) in first 25 ODIs innings by any batsman in the world.[5]
  • Fastest in the world to reach 1,000 T20I runs. (26 innings)[75]
  • Most runs by a Pakistani batsman in a single 50-over World Cup edition. (474 runs in 2019 WC)[59]
Most runs in a calendar year / series
  • Most ODI runs in 2016 by a Pakistani cricketer.[76]
  • Most ODI runs in 2017 by a Pakistani cricketer.[32]
  • Second most T20I runs in 2017 and most by a Pakistani batsman.[33]
  • Second most T20I runs in 2018 by a Pakistani batsman.[77]
  • Most Test runs in 2018 by a Pakistani batsman.[78]
  • Most runs (360) scored in a three-match ODI series.[79]
  • Most runs in an ODI series against WI by a Pakistani cricketer.[80]
  • Most runs in a T20I series against WI by a Pakistani cricketer.[81]
  • Most runs (179) in a 3 match T20I series by a Pakistani cricketer and second most in the world.[82]
  • Second most runs (179) scored by a Pakistani cricketer in a T20I bilateral series (3 matches).[83]

AwardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit