Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, has moved to the top of the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen as per the latest ICC update, dethroning Virat Kohli from the No. 1 position for the first time since the Indian batsman replaced AB de Villiers at the top in October 2017. Azam currently has 865 rating points, eight more than Kohli.
Azam’s rise to the top follows a productive series against South Africa. Having started the series with 837 rating points, Azam’s knock of 103 in the first match against South Africa helped him extend the points tally to 858, as he overtook Kohli. He slipped to second following a score of 32 in the second match, with 852 rating points at the time of last week’s ranking update. But his 94 in the final game of the series helped him leapfrog Kohli again.
Azam, who became the fourth Pakistan player after Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf to top the ODI rankings, said: “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.
“This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days.
“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. I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides.
“I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my team-mates and coaching staff. But at this stage, I will savour the moment as it has come almost 18 months after I was first appointed the white-ball captain and that too at the back of my performances that helped Pakistan become the first Asian side to win two ODI series in South Africa,” Azam added.
It was also a good series for Fakhar Zaman, who finished with scores of 8, 193 and 101 in the three matches against South Africa. He was ranked 19th earlier and he jumped to the seventh position to register his career-best ranking.(Cricbuzz)