Exciting young players keep breaking out all the time in international cricket but very few are able to make the most of their potential and live up to the initial hype.
Even rarer are the prodigies who surpass that early promise and turn their raw talent into something truly elite with each passing year.
One such talent is Babar Azam who has taken the cricketing world by storm ever since he made his international debut against Zimbabwe on May, 2015. Since then, the Pakistan star has continued to defy expectations and is currently well on course to establish himself as one of modern-day cricket’s batting legends.
As the Lahore-born batsman turns 25 today, we take a look at some of the incredible statistics behind his meteoric rise in the world of cricket.
54 – The number of runs scored by Babar in his very first international innings. It came in just 60 deliveries in an ODI against Zimbabwe in Lahore with the display confirming that the youngster was there to stay at the international level.
3 – The numbers of consecutive ODI tons scored by Babar in 2016 in a bilateral series against the West Indies in the UAE. The first of them was his maiden ton at the international level and he followed it up with two more in the subsequent matches. Only Kumar Sangakkara (4) has scored more consecutive ODI centuries. Babar is the third Pakistan batsmen to perform the feat with Zaheer Abbas and Saeed Anwar being the previous two.
360 – The total number of runs scored by the right-hander in the same series against the West Indies. It is the highest aggregate by any batsman in a three-match ODI series.
1306 – Is Babar’s ODI run tally after a total of 25 innings and it is the most by any batsman in history at the same stage. He registered seven tons in his first 32 innings which is also a world record. That feat was even more commendable due to the fact that he had to wait until his 15th innings in the format to register his maiden ODI century.
26 – The number of innings taken by the Pakistan batsman to bring up a total of 1,000 T20I runs. He is the quickest in history to get to the mark and broke India superstar Virat Kohli’s record (27 inning) in the process of doing so.
54.17 – Is Babar’s current ODI batting average after 72 innings. It is the second best average for any batsman in history to have played a minimum of 20 innings. Only Virat Kohli’s sensational average of 60.31 is better.
11 – The number of ODI hundreds to have flown off Babar’s bat so far. It is the highest by any Pakistan batsman after 72 innings and it will be a surprise if he does not overhaul Saeed Anwar’s overall tally of 20 tons to become the most successful ODI batsman for his country.
1 – The number of Pakistan batsmen who have registered three T20 centuries in the same calendar year. It is Babar of course. The first came for Pakistan against Leicestershire in a tour match in England earlier this year while the second was scored for Somerset in the T20 Blast. His most recent one came just days ago for Central Punjab at Faisalabad in the inaugural National T20 Cup. He is the sixth batsman overall to achieve this feat.
Babar Azam is the first Pakistani to score 3 centuries in T20s in a calendar year 💯💯💯👏— Cricingif (@_cricingif) October 13, 2019
He is also 6th batsman in the world to achieve this feat 🔥
Chris Gayle has done it on more occasions (4) than anyone else 💪#CPvSIN #NationalT20Cup pic.twitter.com/VLrrttnw1c
127* – Is Babar’s highest score in the Test format. It came against New Zealand in Dubai last year and remains the only century the Pakistani has registered in the longest format of the game.
474 – The number of runs scored by Babar in the 2019 ICC World Cup in England. It is the highest tally accumulated in a single World Cup campaign by any Pakistan batsman and bettered the previous best (437) by Javed Miandad in the 1992 edition. Babar’s 474 runs came in eight innings with the help of a superb ton against New Zealand.
42.33 – Is Babar’s conversion rates of fifties to centuries in ODI cricket. It is the highest by any Pakistan batsman in history to have scored a minimum of 2,000 runs and the fifth highest overall. For reference, ODI sensation Kohli has a conversion rate of 44.33.
68 – The number of innings taken by Babar Azam to bring up a total of 3,000 ODI runs. Only South Africa’s Hashim Amla (57) has breached that barrier in a shorter span of time. For comparison, it took Kohli 75 innings to get to the same mark. If he can score 641 runs in his next nine ODI innings, Babar will become the fasted to breach the 4,000-run mark.
1 – Babar’s current T20I ranking. The right-hander averages a stellar 49.61 in the format after registering as many as 10 half-centuries in just 33 innings. His ODI ranking is No3 where he is only behind India’s superstars Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
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Sri Lanka wrapped up their Twenty20 international series against Pakistan with a game to spare on Monday thanks to a 35-run victory in Lahore.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, playing in only his second T20, smashed 77 off 48 balls as the tourists posted an imposing 182-6 after winning the toss and opting to bat.
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (3-38) then took three wickets in four balls and Isuru Udana provided the perfect finish by grabbing 4-25 as Pakistan were bowled out for 147 in 19 overs, Imad Wasim top-scoring with 47.
After winning Saturday’s opening fixture by 64 runs, Sri Lanka now lead 2-0 in the best-of-three series.
The result came as a shock, as up to 10 players opted to miss the tour to Pakistan due to security concerns, while Pakistan are the top-ranked T20 side in the world.
The final match will be played at the same venue on Wednesday.
Watch the highlights from the second T20 in the video above.
The landmark tour between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is under way as the rain has finally relented in Karachi.
The hosts are seeking a positive start to the Misbah-ul-Haq era, after the iconic batsmen was named both head coach and chief selector of the national side.
Sri Lanka are without 10 of their regular players after opting out of the tour due to security concerns – but can Pakistan capitalise?
Follow our live ball-by-ball match updates below …