Jayawardena names batter who can become No.1 in ICC rankings across formats – Hindustan Times

Published on Aug 11, 2022 01:38 PM IST
  • Jayawardena said Babar is technically sound which is one of the main reasons behind his success in all three formats in the past couple of years or so.
Sri-Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardena(AP)
Sri-Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardena(AP)

Mahela Jayawardena picked Pakistan captain Babar Azam as the one who can topple England’s Joe Root and become the No.1-ranked batter in Test cricket. The legendary Sri Lanka cricketer, in fact, put his weight behind the Pakistan right-hander to claim the top spot in all three formats of the game. “Tough one!” Jayawardena told ICC. “I would say Babar Azam has an opportunity. He’s been consistent in all three formats and it shows in his rankings. He’s a naturally gifted player, plays in all conditions, he’s got the game to adapt as well.”

Babar Azam is currently the only batter in world cricket to be among the top three in ICC rankings in all three formats. The 27-year-old is currently the top-ranked batter in ODIs and T20Is. In Tests, he is at no.3 behind Joe Root and Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne.

Jayawardena said Babar is technically sound which is one of the main reasons behind his success in all three formats in the past couple of years or so.

“I would put my money on him at least for a little while to hold to all three but there are some good quality players around who will keep pushing him. (I) think it is just the technique, the time that he has and the composure that he has out there in the middle,” Jayawardena said in praise of Babar.

“He’s not rattled at any time, whether he plays T20Is, ODIs or Tests, he adjusts quite brilliantly. Joe (Root) in Test cricket is the same. He knows what he needs to do, he can the tempo when he wants to, bats to what the conditions offer. Babar has that same quality, so that’s why he’s been so consistent in all three formats,” he added.

The former Sri Lanka captain said holding on to the top spot in white-ball cricket is much more difficult thing as there is a lot of cricket and greater competition.

“It depends on the amount of cricket, who’s playing when and how much but the Babar might be the guy. T20Is and ODIs, it is tough one to hold on to because there are a lot of good players who have to be consistent. As long as he can be that, because he has a very good role to play in that Pakistan setup – they have batters to bat around him, so he can play his own game – he should be able to hold on to that and at the same time, push himself to get better.

Jayawardena was also impressed with Babar’s leadership skills.

“He’s always going to push himself to get better. Seen in a couple of his interviews recently that it is his goal as well to be No.1 across the table. There’s no harm in challenging yourself to get there.

“Being the captain as well, he has taken responsibility and performed, which is great to see. (It’s) Not an easy thing to do.”


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