KARACHI: Pakistan’s 284 off 49 overs in the opening game against the West Indies was fuelled by 21-year-old Babar Azam’s maiden century, with a delay due to a faulty light tower also frustrating the fans during the first innings.
The right-hander scored 120 off 131 balls before being dismissed by an incredible catch by Kieron Pollard in the deep, who plucked it out of the night sky as it looked to be sailing away for six.
Opener Sharjeel Khan also managed to score a half-century , while wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed scored 35 off 45 balls. Azam, however, did the bulk of the scoring, with under-pressure skipper Azhar Ali doing himself no favours after being dismissed for a golden duck on the very first ball of the match.
It was understandable then, that the knock earned Azam plaudits from several quarters.
“Azam is a special talent, and has all the attributes to go on to become a world-class performer,” former Pakistan bowling coach Mohammad Akram told The Express Tribune. “He is always calm and remains composed even under pressure, which is a great feature in his game.”
Akram also backed Azam, who has 16 ODIs and four T20Is to his name, to break into the Test team as well, especially considering the tough tour Down Under on the horizon at the end of the year. “He has the game become a fine Test player as well, especially when you take into account his sound technique,” added Akram, but did urge for caution. “I see a role for him in Australia. We shouldn’t rush him into things as he has a long career ahead of him.”
Azam has five half-centuries to his name but finally managed to convert it into a triple-figure score. “It’s great that the younger players are doing their part and are taking responsibility in the side,” said Akram. “This not only adds depth into the squad but also bodes well for the future.”
Azam was not the only player to catch Akram’s eye though, with the former Test bowler also highlighting the rise of T20I man-of-the-series Imad Wasim. “Imad and Azam are Pakistan’s two starts for the limited overs teams.”
Courtesy : Express Tribune