Euro 2020 Special

Babar Azam Breaks Another Kohli Record

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has passed the record of India’s Virat Kohli to become the fastest Asian batter to reach 11,000 international runs.

Playing in Christchurch against Bangladesh, in a tri-nation series that also features the host nation New Zealand, he made 55 off 40 balls and struck none boundaries.  His efforts helped his size squeeze home in a tight run chase, winning by seven wickets with one ball to spare.

And in the process, Babar not only went past the 11,000 run mark in international cricket but he also took Kohli’s record away from him.


Their records compared

Babar competed his 11,000 international run in his 251st innings, whereas it took Kohli until his 261st.

On Friday, he added to his total by making 15 against the Kiwis in the final at the same venue.

He now has 11,017 runs to his name, composed of 3,122 in 42 tests and 75 innings, 4,884 in 92 ODI and 90 innings, and 3,231 in 92 T20Is and 87 innings.

In terms of other Asian “dashers”, Sunil Gavaskar took 262 innings to reach the milestone and Pakistan’s Javed Miandad 266.

His innings also saw him overtake the record of Rohit Sharma in terms of T20I half centuries. His innings against Bangladesh was his 29th, one more than Sharma has achieved. For the moment, though, Kohli still owns that record, having scored 33 T20I half centuries so far.


A welcome return to form

For his country, this is a welcome return to form ahead of the World Cup. He had been struggling to replicate the performance levels that made him the number one batter in the world in T20I cricket and had been deposed at the top of the ICC T20I batter rankings by both team mate Mohammad Rizwan and Suryakumar Yadav of India.

And despite making an unbeaten century in the second match against England, he finished on the losing side of that seven match home T20I series.


They defeated the hosts

Pakistan followed up their win over Bangladesh by defeating the hosts in Friday’s final by 5 wickets.

Winning the toss and inviting the home side to bat first, they managed to restrict them to 163/7 from their allotted number despite an innings of 59 from Babar’s opposite number Kane Williamson.

And despite Rizwan and Babar for once underperforming with the bat by their own high standards, the rest of the batting line-up found the runs they needed between them and they reached their target with three balls and five wickets in hand.

Now Pakistan have renewed hope that, with he and Rizwan opening the batting, they might yet mount a serious challenge in the World Cup, although they face a tough opening match in their opening group game in the Super 12 stage of the competition against their old enemy India at the MCG in Melbourne on October 23rd.

In the meantime, they have two warm-up gams to play in Brisbane. First they will renew their acquaintance with England and then two days later they face Afghanistan.

 New Zealand, meanwhile, have a date with South Africa before it is their turn to play India.


Still a long way to go

Azam is 27 years old and he still has a long way to go before he can count himself among the all-time greats when it comes to international runs scored in all formats of the game (tests, Odis and T20Is).

The all-time list is headed by the incomparable Sachin Tendulkar, who in an international career spanning 24 years, managed a total of 34,357 runs. He is followed by Kumar Sangakarra of Sri Lanka, who totalled 28,016 runs, finishing just ahead of Australia’s Ricky Ponting with 27,483.

Among those still playing the game, Kohli is the highest placed. He is seventh on the all-time list with 24,130 international runs.

He needs just 79 to pass the total set by another Indian, Rahul Dravid, and should manage that in the course of the forthcoming World Cup campaign.

Provided he retains his appetite for the game and stays fit, Kohli is likely to set many more records before he retires, so the challenge is on for Babar to match him.




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