Veteran India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik reckons Babar Azam will soon become the top-ranked batter across formats, adding that Pakistan skipper is reaping the benefits of the subtle changes made in his batting technique.
The 27-year-old, who has been a consistent campaigner across all three formats, currently holds the top spot among batters in T20Is, as well as ODIs and Karthik, is confident Babar can become the first player in the history of the sport to be ranked No.1 across all three formats.
“One-hundred per cent (he is capable of achieving the No.1 ranking in all three formats). He (Babar) is a high-quality player who is at the peak of his batting prowess and he has got some Test matches coming up,” Karthik said on The ICC Review.
“He has been phenomenal in all three formats of the game and he has done well in different batting positions too. I think he has the potential. He has got all the following of Pakistan helping him in abundance to go on and do special things for his country,” he added.
The seasoned wicketkeeper-batter feels Babar has tweaked his batting technique recently which has helped the right-hander become a better player and his timing of the ball is now on par with all modern-day batters.
“The two things that struck me when I watched him bat is his balance and his striking point when he plays a ball.
“Whether it is on the front foot or the back foot, his ability to strike the ball more often than not under his eyes, has been phenomenal.
“He strikes the ball at the point where it is optimum power for where the ball is pitched and that makes him a very special player.”
In the longest format of the game, Babar is ranked fifth in the world, behind Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne and the ‘Big Four’ of India’s Virat Kohli, England’s Joe Root, Australia’s Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.
“It is a very strong ‘Fab Four’ that we are talking about and they have obviously been there for much longer, but there is no doubt that Babar has all the credentials and he is going to make it a ‘Fab Five’.”
“There is no doubt he is there or thereabout … he is a very special player.”
Karthik believes Babar will continue to develop further as he learns how to adapt to different conditions that players face when playing away from home.
“When you play international cricket, you have got to keep changing a little bit here and there to keep improving your technique,” he said.
“Sometimes just by one per cent (improvement), you can go on and achieve success in that particular tour you are on, so I think he has definitely tweaked his technique a bit here and there over a period of time.”
(With inputs from agencies)