Babar Azam adds another feather in his hat


Dubai: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is now officially the top-ranked T20 batter in the world for the longest period of time, surpassing Virat Kohli’s tenure, after he maintained his spot at the head of proceedings in the latest ICC T20 batting rankings released on Wednesday.

India cricketer Kohli was the No.1 ranked T20 batter for a total of 1,013 days during his reign last decade, but Azam has now surpassed this number following his long-standing stay at the top.

The Pakistan skipper is currently rated as the No.1 batter in T20Is and ODIs and recently suggested he was keen to try and claim top billing in all three formats of the game.

There was little change within the latest T20I rankings released on Wednesday, with India left-hander Ishan Kishan dropping one place inside the top-10 to seventh on the list for batters.

Ireland’s young batter Harry Tector moved up a 55 places to 66th following his impressive series with the bat against India, while Deepak Hooda jumped 414 spots to equal 104th overall.

While former England Test skipper Joe Root hangs on to his narrow lead as the top-ranked Test batter, there is big movement behind him following the completion of England’s three-Test home series against New Zealand.

Player of the Series Daryl Mitchell of New Zealand rose four places to 12th on the latest batter rankings, while fellow Kiwi Tom Blundell jumped 11 spots to 20th.

Root’s England team-mate Jonny Bairstow also caught the eye with a 20-place improvement seeing the 32-year-old move to 21st on the Test batter list.

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner dropped a spot to 10th on the latest rankings for bowlers, with England duo Stuart Broad (up one spot to 13th) and Jack Leach (up 13 places to 25th) among the notable movers.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan dropped a spot to third on the all-rounder rankings following a disappointing second Test against West Indies, with India veteran Ravichandran Ashwin taking his place in second.

West Indies’ left-hander Kyle Mayers jumped three places to eighth on the all-rounder rankings following his ‘Player of the Match’ performance against Bangladesh.

The recent rise of Australia’s Josh Hazlewood as a dominant white-ball bowler continued as the in-form seamer moved up two places to equal fifth on the latest ODI rankings.

Hazlewood is already No.1 on the T20 rankings and his move up the ODI list comes on the back of a strong spell of 2/22 in the final 50-over match of the series against Sri Lanka.