Ex-Australia great Hussey heaps praises on Babar Azam
ISLAMABAD – A masterful 157 by Babar Azam in the ongoing three-day match against Australia at Perth has made former Australia great Michael Hussey to believe that the batsman now has what it takes to become one of the game’s elite multi-format batsmen.
Already a force to be reckoned with facing the white ball, Babar’s Test career is on an upwards trajectory after a modest start. He averaged just 23.75 across his first 11 Tests, but has averaged 50.66 in his last 10.
He may have been facing a second-string attack, but Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson are far from second-rate bowlers — and Babar handled them with aplomb on Monday. He came to the crease with his side in trouble at 3-60 before turning the match on its head alongside Asad Shafiq in an unbeaten 276-run partnership.
“It’s been a beautiful innings really. He’s timed the ball magnificently all around the ground,” Hussey was quoted as saying by an Australian website.
Babar plays gloriously off the front foot, so the fact he crafted the big score while facing plenty of short-pitched bowling early spells trouble for Australia. Furthermore, the venue for the second Test is Adelaide Oval, which is a slower wicket when compared to Perth Stadium’s, and should play somewhat into Babar’s hands.
What should also ring alarm bells is the fact the 25-year-old converted his century in style, which is something he’s been criticised of not doing often enough. He’s scored 11 Test fifties, and has made just one century.
“I honestly believe this guy can be in the same conversation when we start talking about the best players in the world,” he said. “We start talking about (Virat) Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root gets floated around.
“I think if he can start putting together some big hundreds like this in the Test arena, he’s that good … he’s a brilliant, brilliant player,” he added.