Babar Azam dethrones Virat Kholi, becomes World’s No 1 ODI batsman
Reacting to the news, Babar Azam 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.
“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 team-mates 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 that helped Pakistan become the first Asian side to win two ODI series in South Africa.”
Babar’s No.1 ODI ranking supplements his No.6 Test and No.3 T20I rankings, which is a hallmark of a fine batsman across all three formats. At present, Kohli is the only other batsman to feature inside the top-six across all formats.
On the other hand, promising Babar Azam struck form in the ODIs against South Africa and amassed 228 runs in only three matches at an average of 76 and his amazing batting helped him go past the player whom he is always compared with.
Looking at the ICC ranking list, Babar boasts of 865 rating points while Virat Kohli has 857 points to his name in the latest rankings in the ODI format. The top two are a fair way ahead of the next lot with Rohit Sharma having 825 points and Ross Taylor is at the fourth spot with 801 points.
Fakhar among top 10 players
Pakistan cricket team opener Fakhar Zaman has also been elevated to the 7th position in the latest ICC Men’s ranking. Fakhar gained tones of applause around the globe for his fearless two centuries including 193 runs innings against the South Africa.
Career-high rankings for Fakhar, Shaheen
Meanwhile, Fakhar Zaman has returned to the top-10 following a stellar series against South Africa in which he won the player of the series award, while Shaheen Shah Afridi is just outside the top-10 in the latest rankings.
Fakhar had scores of eight, 193 and 101, which have helped the left-hander jump from 19th to seventh – his career-best ranking to date. His previous best ranking was eighth, which he had achieved following his 138 against England at Southampton in May 2019.
The opener had moved seven places to 12th after his swashbuckling 193 in the second match, while he was rewarded with a jump of five more places following his 101 in the series-decider.
Shaheen has achieved a career-high ranking of fifth. He took three for 58 in the final match of the series, which has helped him to jump four places to 11th in the bowling table. His previous highest-ranking was 14th, which he had achieved following his two for 61 in the first ODI against South Africa.
While Shaheen has moved in an upward direction, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf have slipped in the latest rankings, which were updated following the third ODI. Hasan has dropped six places to 54th, while Faheem is now 57th after sliding three places. However, Mohammad Nawaz has vaulted 29 places to 96th after his figures of three for 34 at Centurion –third ODI.