Babar Azam, the top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings for Batsmen, believes he still has a lot to look forward to, especially in the longest format.
“I definitely feel like there is more to come from me in first-class and Test cricket,” Babar said in an interview published by the Somerset website. "I have done okay in the white-ball game recently, but I really want to prove myself in Test cricket, so I will be doing my best to achieve my goals in this format.”
Having signed up for Somerset in May, Babar’s blazing white-ball form has placed him atop the charts in the ongoing T20 Blast, where he averages 62, garnering 434 runs in nine games.
He slammed a T20 century just last week, carrying his bat in a 55-ball 110* against Hampshire. In the previous game against the same opposition, he had scored an unbeaten 95.
He now wants to replicate the success in the red-ball game, expressing his wish to represent Somerset in the County Championship as well.
“I’m really looking forward to playing a County Championship match for Somerset at Edgbaston. Hopefully, I can score a few runs and help Somerset win the match. I know the club are close to winning that first title, so fingers crossed I can play a small part in this.”
Babar’s Somerset stint began right after his maiden ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup campaign, where he proved to be Pakistan’s best batsman. He was their highest run-scorer, averaging 67.71 with with a century and three fifties, but could not ensure a semi-final spot for the team, as they finished fifth.
“I was really pleased with how my World Cup went, and that has given me a lot of confidence moving forward," he said.
“It was my first World Cup and although it was a big challenge, it was something I really enjoyed. The atmosphere at all the Pakistan games was amazing and so many people turned up to cheer us on.”
Averaging over 50 in both ODIs and T20Is, Babar has had a relatively sedate start to his Test career, with an average of 35 after 21 games. With his eyes now set on clinching bigger honours in red-ball cricket, Babar, only 24, is on his way to being the unmistakable face of Pakistan's batting future.
“I really want to aim as high as I can throughout the rest of my career, and perform to the best of my ability for Pakistan over a long period of time," he said. "I love playing cricket. I want to enjoy my career and play with a smile on my face.”
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