Pakistan skipper across formats Babar Azam has expressed his desire to reach a height in his career when others are compared to him than the other way around. However, he still takes a lot of pride in getting compared to top batsmen in the world and wants to emulate their performances.
Given Babar Azam is only 26-year-old and is averaging over 50 in ODIs and T20Is and 45.44 in Tests, he's touted as one of the potential greats of the upcoming decade. His delightful and consistent performances for his national side in the last three years has got him plenty of comparisons with Indian skipper Virat Kohli while he is also considered a part of fab four by many with Joe Root's falling stature in recent times.
However, Babar Azam, who will be captaining Pakistan as a full-time Test skipper against New Zealand for the first time, wants to reach a stage in his career where others are compared to him. But, he takes a lot of pride in getting compared to some greats of the game and wants to match up to their performances.
"I feel proud to be compared to these top batsmen and to be ranked in the top five of the world. But my dream is that one day I also reach a stage where other batsmen are compared to me and not me being compared to others," Babar said in an interview to a YouTube channel, reported TOI.
"I know that I also have to perform like them in every condition and compete with them. I also want to perform like them and win matches for the team like they do."
Babar, who has five Test and 12 ODI centuries, also feels that there is a lot of satisfaction in scoring runs in SENA nations as they help a batter stand-out.
"When you get runs in places like Australia, England, South Africa it gives you satisfaction and people sit up and take notice of you. New Zealand will be a tough series but I have psyched myself to continue my runs in the two tests and three T20 matches."
"In England we did well and gave them a tough time so I am optimistic we can do well. Conditions in New Zealand are different and we have to adjust to those conditions. Good we are going there early so that it gives us more time to get used to their conditions."
Babar also reckons that learning is a lifelong process and he tries to study his batting irrespective of good or bad performances with the willow.
"In cricket the learning process is never over. I like to study my batting whether I do well or fail. I spend hours watching videos of my batting and even others. It is a good learning exercise."
"It is always nice to hear the other greats talk highly about you but it also makes me realize that I have more of a responsibility to do well and prove them right."
The Pakistan superstar was already leading the side in white-ball cricket but now will be captaining the Test side too and he is all ready for the challenge in New Zealand.
"The board had indicated to me they were considering me Test captain when they made me white ball captain last year. They have told me to play fearlessly and not worry about losing matches. They will support me. They have told me I am there as captain for a long time."
Pakistan will take on New Zealand in a three-match T20I and two-match Test series. The T20I series begins from December 18 while Tests commence from December 26.