Pakistan captain Babar Azam says he feels ‘honoured’ after overtaking India’s Virat Kohli to become the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world.
Babar made scores of 103, 31 and 94 in Pakistan’s ODI series victory over South Africa earlier in the month.
The 26-year-old’s performances saw him become the the No. 1 one-day international batsman in the world ahead of India skipper Kohli, who had held the position since October 2017.
Babar said: ‘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.
‘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, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days.’
Babar has now scored 3,808 runs in 80 ODIs at an average of nearly 57, with 13 centuries and 17 fifties.
He says his ‘ultimate ambition’ is to climb to the top of the Test batting rankings, with Kohli, Joe Root, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson currently the only player above him in the standings.
‘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 said.
‘I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides.
‘I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my team-mates and coaching staff.
‘But at this stage, I will savour the moment as it has come almost 18 months after I was first appointed the white-ball captain and that too at the back of my performances that helped Pakistan become the first Asian side to win two ODI series in South Africa.’
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