Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shared on Sunday a throwback video from skipper Babar Azam’s One Day International (ODI) debut as the 28-year-old batter appears in his 100th 50-overs match today at the National Bank Cricket Arena against New Zealand.
The right-hander played his first ODI match against Zimbabwe around eight years ago after his selection in the national squad in 2015. He scored an impressive fifty scoring 54 runs off 60 balls.
Since then, the prolific batter has achieved numerous feats becoming one of the most successful cricketers in the recent history.
Being the top-ranking ODI batter, the fastest to score 5,000 ODI runs and the first Pakistani skipper to lead the national side to the World No. 1 ODI team, are some of the latest achievements in Babar’s illustrious career.
Celebrating Babar’s 100th ODI match, PCB posted a video of all 60 deliveries that he faced in his first ODI.
Recalling his selection for the national squad in an interview with PCB Digital on Saturday, Babar said that “it was a totally different feeling”.
He said that there had been some talk about him being selected, but when he finally got the call, it was very exciting.
“I was sitting with my family and it made them happy. When I entered the Gaddafi Stadium as a Pakistan player, I reminisced my journey of how I used to come here as a ball picker and how I had come here before Inzamam-ul-Haq’s final Test match, which was against South Africa, as a net bowler,” Babar had said.
“I was not selected for the national academy for top performers after my first season as an U15 regional player as my performances were not up to the mark. That is when I started to set goals for myself and my first goal was to become a part of it and for that, I worked hard day and night. I used to leave my house for training at 11am and stay in the ground till sunset,” he added.
The skipper attributed his discipline, solid technique, consistency and level-headedness to sheer hard work, adding that ever since his first exposure to official cricket at the under-15 regional level he has been working hard to ensure that he gives the game his all.
Today, the fifth ODI against New Zealand in the five match series is a crucial match as Pakistan need to win in order to cement their place at the top.
A defeat in the last ODI will see them drop to number three spot, with Australia reclaiming their number one ranking that they achieved after consecutive four wins against the tourists.
Pakistan will also remain on top if they bag a victory in the fourth ODI and the fifth match is abandoned or ends in a no-result.