Coming into 2023, Babar Azam didn’t have the rub of the green wearing Pakistan colors. Since the 2022 Asia Cup, his average across formats for Pakistan had dipped below 40. At the T20 World Cup in Australia, he had only managed 124 runs off seven games in a campaign that closed with Pakistan’s defeat to England in a low-scoring T20 World Cup final.
As the months have progressed and the 2023 ODI World Cup has neared though, Babar’s numbers have gotten better. In ODIs alone this year, he has a century and six fifties to his name off 11 outings. In the recent three-match series against Afghanistan, he finished with back-to-back half centuries as Pakistan clean sweeped their sub-continent rivals.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) August 27, 2023
Pakistan batter Abid Ali believes criticism has helped Babar get back on track. “It’s good, Babar should be criticized. When he is criticized, Allah blesses him in a way that he scores without any stopping. Babar has played with me; he’s also my junior – now he is a world-class player. Allah has given Pakistan such a star that there are no words to describe it. His [Babar] batting skills – it’s always fun to watch him play,” Abid told Cricket Pakistan.
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“All commentators worldwide praise him; so do we. We can pray for him that Allah bestows him with health and that he may continue to perform for the Pakistan cricket team. If he doesn’t perform in one or two matches, people start complaining that Babar didn’t perform; even the ones criticizing him want him to perform,” he added.
Pakistan are now prepping up for their 2023 Asia Cup opener against Nepal on August 31 in Multan. The continental tournament will also be co-hosted by Sri Lanka, after The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) declined to travel to Pakistan.
Babar and Co shall face India on September 2 in Pallekele and the two will lock horns in the upcoming ODI World Cup on October 14 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.