LAHORE: As Babar Azam on Wednesday returned to the top of the batting table in the latest ICC men’s T20I batting rankings, other players also move upwards.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan toppled Indian skipper Virat Kohli and secured the fourth position, Fakhar Zaman has gained two places and is now ranked 45th, Mohammad Hafeez has jumped five places to 54th and Asif Ali has vaulted 30 places to 171st.
The skipper is already ranked number 1 in ODIs and seventh in Tests category, which is a testament to his talent, skill and consistent performance across all formats, a statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed.
According to the statement, in the bowling chart, Imad Wasim has jumped 10 places to 26th and Hasan Ali has moved up four places to 63rd, while Shaheen Shah Afridi has remained Pakistan highest-ranked bowler in 13th position (down by one), followed by Haris Rauf, who has slipped three places to 20th.
In the all-rounders’ category, Mohammad Hafeez is the highest-ranked Pakistan player on 17th position.
Babar Azam’s phenomenal performance
According to the rankings that were announced last week, England’s Dawid Malan (831 points) led Babar (820 points) by 11 points. Since the last announcement, Babar has notched up half-centuries against Afghanistan (51) and Namibia (70), whereas Dawid Malan had scores of eight against Australia and six against Sri Lanka in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Contrasting performances in the past week has meant Babar has turned the 11-point deficit into a 36-point lead over Malan. As such, Babar is now the only batter to sit inside the 800-point mark on 834 points, while Malan has slipped to 798 points.
This is the sixth time Babar has surged to the top of the T20I batting charts, while Malan has slipped to second for the first time since November 2020.
Babar’s return to the top position in the T20I ranking has come in the same week when Pakistan leapfrogged India into the second position following their five wickets victory over Afghanistan in Dubai. Pakistan are now on 265 points, while India has slipped to 262 points after back to back defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand. England led the field with 279 points.
Reacting to the news, Babar Azam said: “It is a good little motivation to be back on top of the T20I rankings. But the bigger picture is these performances have helped Pakistan to rise to number two and become the first side to qualify for the semifinals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
“In a team game, each and every player has contributed, but we are well aware that the job is half done. Our focus firmly remains to maintain the standards we have set in this competition and finish the tournament like we have started so that we can properly celebrate team and individual achievements.”