The 5,000 club

Babar Azam is one of the names in world cricket that will divide the most opinion. He’s world-class, a fantastic leader and the best thing since sliced bread, some will have you believe.

Others will have you believe, he’s a player in it for selfish gain and as a captain is incompetent, so which is it? Here I want to try and offer a balanced view and then ultimately let you the reader decide.

Babar in yesterday’s game against New Zealand hit his 18th ODI hundred, which helped him become the fastest man to reach 5,000 runs (doing so in 99 games) and also help his side to the top of the ODI rankings.

Those two points alone should end the conversation, right? Well, sports fans and those who love football, let me just say Cristiano Ronaldo, then you will know what I mean.

No, I am not comparing CR7 and Babar, as one is near the end of his career and the other needs to truly cash in on his peak years. Why I say this because Ronaldo has superb goal-scoring stats, but that alone doesn’t stop his critics from criticising.

With that in mind, this isn’t quite enough to put the argument that Babar is a good player to bed, once and for all. Some may see this as harsh as Babar Azam is still a relatively young captain, but many times his Pakistan side are on the wrong side of thrillers.

The men in green, tend to lose the close games, the ones which are settled by the smallest of margins. Also, Babar the player arguably doesn’t perform on the world stage.

My evidence for this was the Asia Cup, where he went through a lean spell for his standards and last year’s T20 World Cup, where it took him to the semi-final to make any score of note.

The evidence I have provided is broad, but the prosecution would want this to be presented in the argument against Babar Azam being a good player.

The other argument is that Babar is a stat-padder, a term referring to the Pakistan captain playing innings to boost his personal stats, at the cost of the team.

This is hard to prove as, if you bear in mind yesterday’s game, Babar Azam’s knock helped Muhammed Harris and Shaheen Afridi open their shoulders. It was their dual assault on New Zealand’s bowling attack that helped Pakistan to 334, which was psychologically crucial.

You’re grown adults, so you can draw your own conclusions. My personal opinion is something in between. Babar is a super player and scoring 5,000 runs in 99 games deserves praise. The rate he scores in the modern era can be slow at times.

As a leader, although he has improved a little bit, he needs to be more flexible. In the big games of the past, Pakistan needed a sixth bowler to ease the pressure on one of the front-line bowlers when they might be enduring a bad day.

Simply put he’s a great player, but no he doesn’t compare to Kohli as Virat has done in his career what Babar needs to do, and that’s be consistent for a long time.

Do you agree with my thoughts and findings? Do let me know in the comments.

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