Babar Azam has dethroned the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team Virat Kohli to become the number one batsman in One-Day Internationals, becoming the fourth batsman from Pakistan to attain the number one position in the latest ICC rankings list update, released on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old player of the match scored 94 off 82 balls in the last match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League series against South Africa in Centurion which helped him gain 13 rating points to reach 865 points and he now leads the Indian captain by eight points.
Babar, a star of the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cups in 2010 and 2012 has been playing ODIs since 2015 and had started the series against South Africa at 837 rating points but moved up to 858 (ahead of Kohli) after his score of 103 in the first match. He dropped to 852 by the time of the last weekly rankings update with a score of 32 in the second ODI.
By ending Kohli’s 1,258 day-supremacy, Babar has emulated compatriots Zaheer Abbas (1983-84), Javed Miandad (1988-89), and Mohammad Yousuf (2003) as the number one ODI batsman. In Tests, Babar has attained a best of the fifth position and is currently ranked sixth while in T20Is he is third but has been number one in the past.
Meanwhile, Fakhar Zaman is another Pakistan batsman to move up the ODI batting charts, gaining five slots to reach a career-best seventh position after his knock of 101. Shaheen Afridi (up four places to a career-best 11th place) and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (up 29 places to 96th) have progressed thanks to their three-wicket hauls in the match.
Babar had earlier overtaken Rohit Sharma to get to the second spot.
Reacting to the news, Azam, in a statement, said: “I feel privileged and honoured to have joined the company of stalwarts like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf, who will always be the shining stars of Pakistan cricket.”
“This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days,” he continued.
The captain further said: “I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman’s calibre, reputation and skills. I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently but more importantly, against the top sides.”
“I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my teammates and coaching staff. But at this stage, I will savour the moment as it has come almost 18 months after I was first appointed the white-ball captain and that too at the back of my performances which helped Pakistan become the first Asian side to win two ODI series in South Africa,” added Azam.