Pakistan captain Babar Azam has been chasing Virat Kohli for a few years now. While in Test and ODI, the India skipper is still miles ahead of his Pakistani counterpart, in T20 cricket, Babar Azam is running neck and neck with Kohli.
On Sunday, he broke another of Kohli’s record during his 52-run knock against Zimbabwe in the third T2oI. Babar Azam is now the fastest batsman to 2000 runs in terms of innings played – he achieved the feat in 52 innings while Kohli took 56 innings to reach the same figure.
In 2018, Babar Azam also was the fastest to 1000 T2oI runs, in 26 innings, once again surpassing Kohli who took 1 innings more; the record now is held by England’s Dawid Malan, the current number 1 ICC T20I batsman -Malan needed 24 outings to reach the landmark score.
After a loss in the second T20I, where Zimbabwe levelled the series defeating Pakistan in the shortest format for the first time, Babar Azam shifted himself to number 3 and was replaced by Sharjeel Khan.
While Mohammad Rizwan continued his supreme batting form and played attacking shots, the skipper, who came to bat in the 5th over, was cautious throughout the course of the innings – the collapse of the second match seemed to have affected his strategy. He got out in the last over scoring 52 runs off 46 balls to help Pakistan to 165.
Babar Azam moves to second position in ICC T20I rankings
In the latest ICC rankings, Babar Azam has moved up by a place to second spot in the ICC T20I batters rankings after his fifty and a hundred in the series versus South Africa. He displaced Australia captain Aaron Finch.
The 26-year-old is aiming to take back the numero uno position from Dawid Malan – however, the Englishman is still plenty of distance ahead from the Pakistani skipper. Babar Azam’s rating points of 844 is still 48 short of that of Malan, but his performances against Zimbabwe would help – or even overtake – his cause.
Earlier, the right-hander overtook Virat Kohli to become the No.1-ranked ODI batsman – only the fourth Pakistan batter to attain the top ODI spot.
“This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time,” Babar Azam had said then.
“I feel privileged and honoured to have joined the company of stalwarts like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf, who will always be the shining stars of Pakistan cricket. I have also previously topped the T20I rankings.
“But the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman’s calibre, reputation and skills,” he added.