Impressed with Babar Azam’s exploits with the willow in the last few years, veteran India cricketer Dinesh Karthik has tipped the Pakistan skipper to become the first batter to be ranked as No.1 across formats at the same time.
While Babar is already occupying the top spot in both white-ball formats, he is currently fifth in the ICC rankings for Test batters.
“One-hundred per cent (he is capable of achieving that),” Karthik told Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review. “He is a high-quality player who is at the peak of his batting prowess and he has got some Test matches coming up.
“He has been phenomenal in all three formats of the game and he has done well in different batting positions too.
“I wish him all the best and think he has the potential. He has got all the following of Pakistan helping him in abundance to go on and do special things for his country.”
Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne is currently holding the pole position in Test batting rankings, while the likes of Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root have dominated the longest format in the past decade.
However, Karthik believes it’s only a matter of time before the 27-year-old Babar joins the illustrious group.
“It is a very strong ‘Fab Four’ that we are talking about and they have obviously been there for much longer, but there is no doubt that Babar has all the credentials and he is going to make it a ‘Fab Five’,” Karthik stated.
“There is no doubt he is there or thereabouts … he is a very special player.”
Karthik pointed out that Babar Azam had made some changes to his batting technique in recent years that has helped him become a better player.
“The two things that struck me when I watched him bat is his balance and his striking point when he plays a ball,” Karthik explained.
“Whether it is on the front foot or the back foot, his ability to strike the ball more often than not under his eyes, has been phenomenal.
“He strikes the ball at the point where it is optimum power for where the ball is pitched and that makes him a very special player.”
According to Dinesh Karthik, Babar will keep getting better as he learns how to adapt to different conditions while playing away from home.
“When you play international cricket you have got to keep changing a little bit here and there to keep improving your technique,” he said.
“Sometimes just by one per cent a lot of the time so that so you can go on and achieve success in that particular tour you are on, so I think he has definitely tweaked his technique a bit here and there over a period of time.”
(With ICC inputs)