Babar Azam is on a record-breaking spree. Despite not being in the prolific form that people have known him for, the Pakistan captain keeps on piling one mighty achievement after the other.
Babar Azam is on a record-breaking spree. Despite not being in the prolific form that people have known him for, the Pakistan captain keeps on piling one mighty achievement after the other. On Day 3 of the third Test against England at Karachi’s National Stadium, Babar added a massive feather in his cap as he became the only Pakistan captain to notch up 1000 Test runs in a calendar year. Batting during Pakistan’s second innings, Babar scored 54 off 107 balls and in the process, went past decorated former captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq, who had tallied 999 runs from seven Tests way back in 2005.
Between now and then, several Pakistan captains have come and gone – including the legendary Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq and the just-retired Azhar Ali – but none could come close to what Babar has achieved. In 12 matches this year, Babar has finished with 1009 runs with four centuries and six fifties and is currently placed fourth in the list of highest run-scorers for 2022 behind Joe Root, Usman Khawaja and Jonny Bairstow. Overall, Babar is the 6th Pakistan batter to hit 1000 runs in a calendar year, after Mohsin Khan (1982), Inzamam (2000), Mohammad Yousuf (2006), Younis (2006 and 2014) and Azhar in 2016.
With this achievement, Babar has joined an illustrious list of cricketers featuring the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and the modern-day great he is often compared with – Virat Kohli. Kohli has in fact breached the 1000-Test run barrier in a year thrice – in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He, along with Ponting is the only player to have done it on three different occasions.
A cursory glance at Babar’s 2022 sums up the phenomenal year that he has enjoyed. In only his second Test of the year, Babar registered his career-best score of 196 against Australia in Karachi, and followed it with fifties in both innings of a Test in Lahore. When Pakistan toured Sri Lanka, Babar led from the front again and set the series on fire with 119 and 55 in the series opener at Galle. Pakistan did not play a single Test match between July and December as preparations for the T20 World Cup began in full swing, during which Babar surprisingly struggled for form.
However, once December arrived, Babar was back in full flow. He began the England series with a cracking 136 and although it wasn’t enough to help his team win the Test, Babar’s return to form was a huge boost for Pakistan. Babar scored another half-century (75) in Multan, to go with consecutive fifties in the ongoing Karachi Test.