Babar Azam has been a prolific run-scorer for the Pakistani team in the recent times, and has been their middle-order mainstay. Azam has been a perfect resolution to Pakistan’s top-order batting miseries and has helped Pakistan in the recent run chases.
He has been amongst the runs for the Pakistani side in both the Tests and limited-overs format.
In the recent series against Sri Lanka, he had scored back to back centuries; in a series which Pakistan eventually won 5-0.
Scoring consecutive centuries has become his trademark style. He had achieved the feat against West Indies in 2016 also.
In an interview with ESPN Azam discussed the various aspects of his game and how he draws inspiration from Virat Kohli.
How different did you feel when you reached you first ODI hundred compared to the seventh?
I didn’t feel anything too different. Early on in my career, I used to get out in the 30s, 40s, fifties and 60s. So I really appreciated reaching my first hundred. But I was as focused when making my seventh hundred as I was during my first ton. I give my 100% in every game.
In the last two years, you have become a more responsible player in the Pakistan team.
There’s a lot of expectations on me. I am trying to take my ODI confidence to Test cricket. Early on, I hadn’t done well in Tests. But I am far more focused in the longer format.
Tell us about those three consecutive hundreds against West Indies.
I was quite excited about the first hundred. The confidence got higher after the second. Ahead of the third hundred, I knew that I was looking at a world record. But I felt similar to how it was before the first two hundreds. I knew about the world record because it was all over social media. I stayed focused before the third hundred, never thinking that I have to score a hundred. I remembered my processes of the first two hundreds and applied it in that game. Allah gave me the third one as well.
Who was your batting hero?
I loved watching AB de Villiers in the early days. I used to follow him closely. I copied him a lot too. In the nets, I used to try at least some of the shots he played in the matches.
Even those extravagant shots?
Laughs Those hadn’t been played back then. I still don’t try those shots. I play normally. Nowadays I follow Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla, and of course, de Villiers.
Mickey Arthur compared you to a young Virat Kohli.
He compared me with a very big player. I think it shouldn’t be done. But that is the coach’s thinking. Maybe the stats at the start of our careers are similar, but he is the No. 1 batsman in the world. I want to perform at a high level for Pakistan too.