LAHORE -- The year 2019 was a prolific one for batting sensation Babar Azam who stamped his authority on the international circuit across the three formats with some scintillating display of stroke-play that left the fans in awe across the cricketing world.
Be it the bouncy tracks of South Africa and Australia, the high-octane ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 matches, Twenty20 Internationals or the emotions of the return of Test cricket to Pakistan, Babar left an indelible mark with his class, charisma, style, elegance, temperament and powers of concentration.
In six Tests, Babar scored 616 runs with an average of 68.44 at a hugely impressive strike-rate of 72.30 with the help of three centuries and three half-centuries.
In 20 ODIs, Babar totalled 1,092 runs at 60.66. His strike-rate was 93.30 and the runs tally included three centuries and six half-centuries.
In 10 T20Is, Babar contributed 374 runs at 41.55 with a strike-rate of 136.99. Babar scored a total of four half-centuries in T20Is this year.
It is no surprise that Babar is the only cricketer in the ICC Player Rankings to feature in the top-six across the three formats - No.6 in Tests, No.3 in ODIs and No.1 in T20Is.
Looking back at 2019, Babar Azam said here on Tuesday, "It was a great year for me. I learned a lot this year especially how to perform in all conditions. I used to score runs earlier but sometimes I wasn't able to give match-winning performances. I tried to improve on that aspect learned how to bat and win games under pressure, which was a big learning curve for me.
"This year, I played my first 50-over World Cup. It was a big occasion and I really enjoyed the event [Babar scored a Pakistan record 474 runs in the tournament at 67.71]. As a kid, I used to follow World Cups very keenly on television. When I got selected for the big event, I set a goal of doing something big and different", he said.
"Being the top batsman in my team was always a target for me. The World Cup gave me an opportunity of getting recognised at the highest level, which gave me real satisfaction. My innings against New Zealand (101*, 127b, 11x4) was my best in the tournament and it taught me a great deal of how to bat and bail the team out in a pressure situation", said the right handed middle order batsman.
Babar Azam said, "Test cricket was also quite rewarding for me this year. For the past two years, I wasn't quite living up to my own and cricket fans' expectations in the longest format...