SYDNEY: Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has lauded Babar Azam as Pakistan’s danger man ahead of the upcoming Test series beginning Thursday.
Babar is the No.3 ranked batsman in ODI’s as well as being the No1 T20 batsman, however, despite his modest career Test batting average of 35.28, Ponting is backing the 25-year-old right-hander to take a major leap in the coming years. “We haven’t seen the best of him yet,” he said.
“Twenty-odd Tests for an average of 35 – he’s better than that. He averages 54 in one-day cricket at a strike-rate of about 90. “He’s a very, very classy player. “He’s a really exciting talent and probably the guy I’m looking forward to seeing the most this summer. I’ve seen the Aussies a lot and I’ve seen a lot of the Kiwis, but I’m really excited to see him. “He could be anything,” the former skipper said as quoted by cricket.com.au
Babar has already shown his class in Pakistan’s tour matches in the lead-up to the Gabba Test, with a classy 157 against Australia A last week. The classy right-hander was a part of Pakistan’s touring party to Australia three years ago, but struggled in the No.3 spot, and Ponting said the key to Babar’s success was keeping him away from the new ball.
“What they’ve tried with him before obviously hasn’t worked (because) when you watch him bat, he’s better than a 35 average,” he said. “If they can massage him and help him through a little bit, keep him away from the new ball a little bit in Australia, then I think they’ll get the best out of him.”