Pakistan skipper Babar Azam edged past Virat Kohli to become the world No. 1 batsman in the ODI rankings. It brought an end to Virat Kohli’s long reign at the top. In fact, the Indian skipper had displaced AB de Villiers as the No. 1 ODI batsman back in October 2017 and hadn’t lost the spot ever since.
Azam smashed scores of 103, 31 and 94 in the three-match ODI series against South Africa helped him go past Kohli on the ratings. In fact, after the 103 that he scored in the first ODI, Azam has gone past Kohli’s 857 ratings. However, the 31 he made in the second ODI saw him drop down again. The Pakistan No. 3 is now at 865 ratings which is a career-best for him.
Babar Azam became only the fourth Pakistan batsman after Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf to attain the top-most ranking in the ODI batsmen in the history of the game. Azam has been supremely consistent in the ODI format for a long time now. He has aggregated 3808 runs at an average of 56.83 which includes 13 hundreds and 17 half-centuries.
“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. 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. 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,” Babar Azam was quoted saying.
Fakhar Zaman also took long strides and leapt ahead in the rankings after a couple of stunning hundreds. The left-handed opener is now 7th on the ODI rankings. Meanwhile, Shaheen Afridi also made gains after finishing with six wickets in the series. The left-arm fast bowler has moved to the 11th spot on the bowlers’ rankings.