Wednesday, April 14, 2021
DUBAI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Wednesday toppled Indian captain Virat Kohli to become the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world, showed the latest ICC ODI rankings.
Azam now sits on top of ICC's ODI batsman rankings with 865 points and Kohli is number 2 with 857 points.
With the new rankings, Babar ended Kohli’s five-year reign at the top of the ICC rankings. The Indian skipper was on top of the table since October 2017.
The Pakistan skipper propelled to the top of the table after scoring 228 runs in the recently concluded ODI series between Pakistan and South Africa.
This is the first time Azam has ranked as the number one ODI batsman in the world.
The last Pakistani to achieve the feat was former captain Mohammad Yousuf in 2003.
As per the PCB, Azam is the fourth Pakistan batsman after Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf, to reach the top of the ODI batting table.
“I feel privileged and honoured to have joined the company of stalwarts like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf, who will always be the shining stars of Pakistan cricket," Azam was quoted as saying by the PCB in a statement released minutes after the ICC update.
Azam said that this "milestone will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency" from him if he wants to hold on to the spot like West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards and India's Kohli.
“I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman’s calibre, reputation and skills," said Azam.
The Pakistan skipper said he understands that to achieve his goal, he will "not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides".
But for now, Azam said he will "savour the moment as it has come almost 18 months" after his appointment as the white ball captain.
Apart from ODI's, Azam is currently placed at number 6 in the ranking for Test matches and number 3 in T20Is.
Fakhar, Shaheen achieve career best ranking
Apart from Azam, opener Fakhar Zaman entered the top 10 of the ODI rankings and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi is on the cusp of entering the bowlers top ten.
Zaman is now ranked seven after his back-to-back centuries against South Africa in the last two ODIs of the series.
In the last update, the southpaw had jumped seven places and reached the 12th position.
He had risen in the rankings after his stellar knock of 193 runs against South Africa in the second game of the three-match ODI series at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Zaman backed up his 193-run innings with a 101 off 104 balls in the third ODI. He shares the seventh position with South Africa's Faf du Plesis.
On the other hand, rising pacer Afridi also made gains in the rankings. He is on the cusp of entering the top 10 of the ODI bowling rankings.
Afridi's six wickets in three matches at an average of 32.33 helped him reach the number 11 position in the bowlers rankings.
His previous highest-ranking was 14th, which he had achieved following his two for 61 in the first ODI against South Africa.