FULL NAME: Mohammad Babar Azam
BORN: October, 15, 1994, LAHORE, PUNJAB
CURRENT AGE: 25 years
ROLE: Top order Batsman, Right-arm Off Break Bowler, Right-Handed Batsman
A right-hand, top-order batsman known for his discipline and level-headed attitude, Babar Azam laid claim to a long-term spot in Pakistan’s batting line-up with a strong performance in 2016, making three consecutive ODI hundreds against West Indies in the UAE, and a 90 in his third Test, in Hamilton. He was 22 years old at the time.
Born in Lahore and a first cousin to the Akmal brothers, Azam made his way up through age-group cricket. His journey began at an under-15 world championship in 2008 and he played two under-19 World Cups in 2010 and 2012, where he was Pakistan’s top run-scorer.
“We didn’t have to guide him, he was on his own, but we were supportive all the way,” Kamran Akmal said. Azam had the distinction of top scoring regularly in age-group domestic cricket before he was called up to the national side in 2015 and made his debut during the home ODI series against Zimbabwe – a rarity because Azam’s rise was during Pakistan’s isolation as an international venue due to security concerns.
His hat-trick of ODI hundreds against West Indies led to a Test debut in the Test series that followed, and Azam had to opportunity to cement his spot as the careers of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq wound down.
Babar Azam has made a huge impact in cricket by his performance and is a holder of several records at present, such as:
- He is the second-fastest Pakistani batsman to reach 1000 runs in ODI cricket (21 innings).
- He is also the fastest Pakistani batsman to reach 2000 runs in ODI cricket (45 innings). He holds the record jointly with Zaheer Abbas and Kevin Pietersen.
- Babar Azam is also the fastest Asian batsman to reach 3000 runs in ODI cricket (68 innings).
- He also holds the record to score the most runs in the first 25 innings of his career (1306 runs).
- Babar Azam is the only cricketer to score 5 consecutive centuries in a single country (United Arab Emirates).
- Babar is the fastest batsman to score 7 ODI centuries (33 innings).
- He is also the fastest batsman to reach 1000 runs in T20 Internationals (26 innings).
- Babar Azam has also scored the most runs for Pakistan in a single World Cup (474 runs in 2019 World Cup).
- He has been the top ODI scorer for Pakistan in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
- Babar Azam has also been the top Test scorer for Pakistan in 2018 and 2019.
awards and accolades
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.