PAK vs ENG: Babar Azam backtracks on bold 'Naseem Shah over Jasprit Bumrah' remark, names toughest bowlers he's faced

Updated - 15 May 2024, 06:00 PM

Pat Cummins, Babar Azam and Jasprit Bumrah
Pat Cummins, Babar Azam and Jasprit Bumrah. Image Credit: Getty Images

Pakistan's cricket team’s batting sensation and white-ball captain, Babar Azam, is not the rarest but the latest one to keep changing his statements. Actually, last month, Babar stunned the cricket world by opting for Naseem Shah over Jasprit Bumrah in an imaginary scenario during a T20 run chase.

In an interview with Zalmi TV, Babar was asked whom he would choose between Bumrah and Naseem to defend 10 runs from the final six balls of a T20 match. And the Pakistan captain took the young Pakistani pace sensation’s name without any hesitation.

Naseem Shah out, Jasprit Bumrah in as toughest bowler in Babar Azam's list

Well, now Babar has named the toughest bowlers of the modern era during a candid conversation with a former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ramiz Raja, on a local news channel.

Surprisingly, Naseen is not among Babar’s top 4 toughest bowlers to face, as he took the U-turn and named the Indian pacer Bumrah in his list along with some of the premier bowlers in the world. 

He named Australian captain and speedster Pat Cummins, India’s Jasprit Bumrah, England pacer Mark Wood, and senior Australian pacer Mitchell Star as the toughest bowlers to face in international cricket, leaving out the young gun Naseem.

When asked to rank Bumrah, Starc, Wood, and Cummins, Azam promptly placed Cummins at the top of the list, followed by Bumrah, Wood, and Starc. He then explained that Cummins' exceptional ability to outsmart batters with his precision, consistency, and ability makes him the toughest bowler.

Babar Azam explains why he picked Pat Cummins as toughest bowler 

Babar Azam stated: “The way he has, over the years, improved [himself], he will not give you a loose ball. He knows how I can take the wicket of a certain batter by bowling at a certain position. He traps you. He gives you a tough time. He challenges your tempering and technique to the fullest.”

The Pakistani skipper further expressed his admiration for Cummins' ability to maintain control over his bowling, saying if the Australian pacer ever delivers a loose ball, he does it intentionally. The 29-year-old batter mentioned that Cummins typically operates at speeds around 130–135 km/h, and he can suddenly unleash deliveries reaching up to 145 km/h.

Azam also praised Cummins for his capacity to consistently hit the right lengths, stressing that every ball the Australian pacer bowls is calculated and intentional, and that’s why he is at the top of his list. Notably, Cummins is currently leading the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the ongoing IPL 2024.

On the other hand, Babar recently guided the Men in Green to a 2-1 T20I series win in Ireland. After losing the first T20I, Pakistan bounced back strongly and won back-to-back matches to clinch the three-match T20I series against Ireland in Dublin on May 14.

During Pakistan’s 6-wicket win over Ireland in the third match, Babar became the batter with the most 50-plus runs in T20I cricket with his amazing knock of 75 off 42 deliveries laced with five maximums and six boundaries. It was for the 39th time that Babar hit more than 50 runs in T20Is, while Virat Kohli has 38 plus scores to his name in the format.


Babar Azam Naseem Shah Jasprit Bumrah Pat Cummins Pakistan national cricket team