Former India opening batter Gautam Gambhir has singled out Pakistan's skipper, Babar Azam, as the player most likely to set the stage ablaze in the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup.
Gambhir, who himself was part of India's triumphant campaigns in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup under the leadership of MS Dhoni, has shown great admiration for Babar's cricketing prowess.
Babar Azam, Pakistan's batting sensation, has consistently been their standout performer across all formats in recent years. His ability to score runs with remarkable consistency has earned him accolades and recognition worldwide. In a standout performance during the Asia Cup 2023, the Pakistan captain showcased his pedigree by hammering an impressive 151-run knock.
Although he had a relatively quiet tournament after that remarkable innings, Babar is determined to lead from the front as Pakistan heads to India for the ODI World Cup, commencing on October 5.
Gambhir expressed his admiration for Babar Azam's exceptional talent, stating, “Babar Azam can set this World Cup on fire. I have seen a lot of players with so much time to bat. I think that Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root are there, but Babar Azam has a different level of capability.
This high praise from Gambhir holds significant weight, considering his own impressive cricketing career and his vital role in India's World Cup victories.
Babar Azam has enjoyed an impressive run in ODIs
Babar Azam currently holds the esteemed position of being the number one ODI batsman in the world. His ODI record boasts an impressive 5,409 runs in 108 matches at an astonishing average of 58.16.
.@GautamGambhir will eagerly watch out for @babarazam258's performance this #CWC2023. 👀— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) September 23, 2023
Will Babar prove to be the BEST against the rest on the BIGGEST stage?#WorldCupOnStar#Cricket pic.twitter.com/CwccE3r5JI
In the fifty-over format, he has amassed 19 centuries and 28 half-centuries, solidifying his status as one of the premier batters globally. In the year 2023 alone, Babar has accumulated 745 runs in 15 innings at an impressive average of 49.67, showcasing his consistent form.
While Babar's batting exploits will be keenly observed in the World Cup, his leadership skills will also come under scrutiny. Having been at the helm of Pakistan's cricket across all formats since 2019, he is yet to guide his team to a major ICC trophy as captain.
The upcoming World Cup in India presents Babar with a golden opportunity to lead his team to glory on the grand stage.
As cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the commencement of the 2023 ODI World Cup, the spotlight will undoubtedly be on Babar Azam, who carries the hopes of Pakistan on his shoulders as he aims to make a significant impact on the tournament.