ISLAMABAD: Pakistani batter Babar Azam continued to enjoy a “healthy lead” on the Men’s ODI batter rankings on Wednesday, according to the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Indian cricketers Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill making huge strides in the worldwide rankings as well.
Dubbed Babar ‘King’ Azam by cricket fans worldwide, the Pakistani skipper is arguably one of the best batters in modern-day cricket today. Azam fared impressively this year, registering eight scores of more than fifty in the nine ODIs he played in total. Three of these scores he converted into hundreds.
In the 50-over format, Azam’s performance as captain also left little room for criticism. The maverick batter captained the green shirts to in three ODI series this year, emerging victorious in all. In the nine matches Pakistan played, Azam led his side to victory in eight and lost just one.
At 887 points, Azam sits pretty on the top position in the ODI batters rankings. However, with Gill’s impressive performances against New Zealand, there are now three Indian batters in the top 10 batter’s rankings vying for Azam’s position.
“Pakistan skipper Babar Azam still enjoys a healthy lead at the top of the ODI batter rankings, but there is now a total of three India players inside the top 10 and chasing the highest accolade,” the ICC said in a post on its website.
Gill astounded fans and critics alike in the recently concluded three-match series against New Zealand, scoring 208, 40* and 112. He equaled Azam’s record of scoring the most number of runs (360) in an ODI series but was unable to break it. With 734 points, Gill jumped a whopping 20 places to be placed at number 6 in the ODI rankings.
Former India skipper Virat Kohli, with 727 points, was pushed one place below. He is now placed at number 7 position in the rankings, one below Gill and two places above India skipper Rohit Sharma (719 points).
However, the biggest relief for India was Siraj’s rise to the top of the ODI rankings. The Indian bowler, who returned to the national squad after February last year, has collected 37 wickets from 20 matches to be one of India’s most consistent fast bowlers.
“On Tuesday, Siraj was named in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year and on Wednesday the right-armer had another reason to celebrate as he went past Boult and Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood to become the top-ranked ODI bowler for the very first time,” the ICC said.