Mohammad Babar Azam is a Pakistani cricketer who is ranked as the top batsman in T20 Internationals at present. He is the captain of the T20I team of Pakistan and the vice-captain of the team in One Day Internationals.
Babar Azam was born on 15 October 1994 at Lahore in Punjab. He is a right-handed batsman and a right-arm off-break bowler. He plays as an opening batsman in his team, which is his primary role.
Babar Azam has made a huge impact in cricket by his performance and is a holder of several records at present, such as:
Babar Azam has been an extraordinary player in the recent past as far as the Pakistani Cricket is concerned. He was nominated in the ICC World XI of 2017 and has also been the PCB Player of the Year twice in a row. In 2017, Babar was conferred the award by PCB for his performance in One Day internationals whereas, in 2018, he received the same award for his brilliant performance in T20 Internationals.
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Babar Azam has had a bright career and has played for different teams both in and out of Pakistan. He started playing professional cricket at a young age of 13 since his school days.
Babar Azam started playing for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited in 2010, which was the beginning of his first-class career. He made his First-Class debut on 10 December 2010 against National Bank Limited in the 2010 Qaid e Azam Trophy. He scored 54 runs off 114 balls but the match ended in a draw.
He scored a half-century in his List A debut at Multan in the Royal Bank of Scotland Cup which proved out to be vital for the victory of his team. However, he played his first T20 match for Lahore Eagles against Hyderabad Hawks in the Faysal Bank T20 Cup at Lahore on 1 December 2012.
Babar made his international debut in the One Day International format of cricket against a relatively weaker squad of Zimbabwe on 31 May 2015 at Lahore. He scored 54 runs on his debut but the match ended in a no result. However, he maintained his consistency in the matches and went on to become one of the most reliable batsmen for Pakistan cricket team in limited-overs cricket.
In just 21 innings, he had crossed the 1000 run mark and went on to become the fastest Pakistani batsman to cross the 2000 and 3000 run marks. In his first international tournament, i.e. 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, he scored 46 runs which helped Pakistan to lift up the trophy.
During the course of the next two years- 2018 & 2019- Babar went on to establish himself as the next best thing in the ODI format as he churned out hundreds for fun.
In 2019, Azam hammered 1092 runs in 20 innings at an average of 60.66 with 3 hundreds. His highest point came during the World Cup in England, where he emerged as the cornerstone of Pakistan's batting.
His match-winning hundred against New Zealand, which helped Pakistan stay alive in the competition, parachuted him to the upper echelons of stardom. Overall, the stylish batter finished with 474 runs in 8 innings at an average of 67.71 with 4 50+ scores, including 1 hundred. He was eventually picked in the ICC's ODI Team of the Year. He was eventually appointed Pakistan skipper in May 2020.
Babar continued to plunder runs in a heap in the 50-over format, and in April 2021, he ended Virat Kohli's 41-month reign to become the No.1 ranked ODI batter. Since then, he has consolidated his numero-uno spot, and as of October 2022, the difference in rating points between him and the 2nd placed Imam-ul-Haq is more than 100 points.
Due to his exploits in 2021- 405 runs in 6 innings- Azam was included as captain of the ICC Men’s ODI XI of the Year.
Babar Azam made his Test debut against West Indies at Dubai on 13 October 2016. He scored 69 runs in the first innings and 21 runs in the second innings as his team emerged victorious by 56 runs. With this debut, he became one of the few players to have made their debut in a Day/Night Test match.
He has been a great performer in the recent past and has scored 397 runs in the last 5 innings. He has been the highest scorer for Pakistan in the longest format of the game in 2019. Of his 4 Test centuries, 3 of them have come in 2019 at crucial stages in the respective matches.
Babar played just 4 Tests in 2020 due to the global pandemic, but the stylish right–hander cashed in whatever opportunities he got, scoring 338 runs in 4 games @ 67.60 with 1 hundred.
Following a 0-1 defeat in England, Azam was appointed Test captain in place of Azhar Ali.
The year 2021 proved to be a lean one as per his standards as he could manage just 416 runs in 8 innings @ 34.66.
However, he bounced back in stunning style in 2022, hammering 661 runs in 5 games. He scored a patient, match-saving and record-breaking 196 in the 4th innings vs Australia in Karachi, and backed it up with a match-winning 119 & 55 in Galle earlier this July.
His 196 vs Australia is the highest 4th innings score by a captain in Test cricket history. It was previously held by England's Mike Atherton, who played a marathon knock of 185 vs South Africa in 1995. The 425 deliveries that Babar faced for his 196 runs also happens to be the most that any batter has faced in the last innings of a Test.
With 2031 runs in 39 innings, Babar is the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in Tests since the start of 2019.
With some extraordinary skills with the bat in One Day Internationals, he was given a chance to play in the only T20I match against England on 7 September 2016. Babar scored an unbeaten 15 runs in the match and Pakistan won the match by 9 wickets, owing to the small target.
However, Babar turned out to be a consistent player with the bat in the shortest format of the game and went on to score back to back runs. So far, he has 12 half-centuries to his name with a top score of 97 runs and his batting average is above 50, making him one of the best T20I batsmen in the World.
Babar continued to hammer runs for fun in the shortest format of the game in ensuing years to parachute his way to the No.1 ranking.
He smashed 276 runs in 6 innings @ 55.20/144.50 with 4 50+ scores in 2020, and backed it up with a blockbuster 2021, where he plundered 939 runs @ 37.56/127.58 with 10 50+ scores, including his maiden hundred- 122 (59 vs South Africa at Centurion.
He also led Pakistan to their maiden WC win over arch-rivals, India in the Super-12 T20 World Cup fixture in Dubai. Azam also finished as the leading scorer in the quadrennial event- 303 runs in 6 innings @ 60.60/126.25, although his side was beaten by Australia in the semis.
As a result, he overtook Dawid Malan to become the No.1 ranked T20I batter, and was also picked as captain of ICC T20 World Cup 2021 XI.
Apart from being the fastest to 1000 runs, Babar is also the fastest to complete 2000 (52 innings), 2500 (62 innings) and joint-fastest (alongside Virat Kohli to cross 3000 T20I runs (81 innings).
In 2022, Azam suffered a rare lean patch during the Asia Cup as he managed just 68 runs in 6 innings. He eventually lost his No.1 spot to his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan.
However, he regained his form shortly as he smashed 110* off 66 against England in Karachi in September to become the first Pakistani batter to smash 2 T2OI tons. In the process, he and Rizwan became the most successful opening pair in T20Is. The duo have thus far scored 2313 partnership runs in 45 innings with as many as 16 50+ stands, including 8 in excess of 100.
Babar Azam has played for various cricket clubs in franchise tournaments. He plays for Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League and Somerset in the English County Cricket. In the past, he has played for Sylhet Sixers and Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League.
He has also played for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2017 Caribbean Premier League and for Islamabad United in 2016 Pakistan Super League.
Babar was picked by the Karachi Kings in 2017. And three years later, he spearheaded the franchise with the bat to a title win.
In 11 innings, he scored 473 runs @ 59.12/124.14 with 5 50+ scores and was adjudged the 'Player of the Tournament'.
Babar continued his brilliant form in the 2021 season and ahead of PSL 07, he was eventually appointed skipper of Karachi Kings.
He scored 343 runs in 10 innings @ 38.11/118.68 but failed to inspire his team as a leader as the 2020 champions finished at the bottom of the table.
Overall, Babar holds the record for most runs in PSL history. In 66 innings, he has scored 2413 runs @ 42.33/121 with 23 50+ scores.
Babar also featured for English county Somerset in the T20 Blast edition of 2020, wher3 he scored 218 runs in 7 innings @ 36.33/137.97 with 1 hundred.
Babar Azam has recently taken over the captaincy of the Pakistani T20I team and has led the team in one match which had unfavourable results. However, he has led the U19 team in 21 matches and has won 13 of them. He has also led his home team of Central Punjab in the National T20 Championship on two occasions — 2018 and 2019 season.
Babar Azam was appointed T20I captain in September 2019, and since then, he has led Pakistan in 36 victories in 59 games, losing 18.
He was appointed ODI and Test captain in the year 2020. In 18 ODIs as captain, Babar has won 12, while losing 5; 1 game ended in a NR. As far as Tests are concerned, Azam has won 8 in 13, while losing 3.
Babar Azam is the son of Azam Siddique. He comes from a family of cricketers and is a cousin of Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and Adnan Akmal. He has a brother named Safeer Azam.
In 2021, rumour mills ran ablaze about Babar Azam's engagement with his cousin. However, the Pakistan skipper dismissed the reports, stating that his sole focus is on cricket at the moment.