Would put my money on Babar Azam to dethrone Joe Root in Tests, remarks Mahela Jayawardena

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Babar Azam has been in sizzling form across formats.

Pakistan Cricket (Twitter).

Would put my money on Babar Azam to dethrone Joe Root in Tests, remarks Mahela Jayawardena

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SportsCafe Desk

08/12/2022

Mahela Jayawardena believes Babar Azam has the opportunity to topple Joe Root as the best Test batsman in the coming days. Jayawardena has also labelled Babar as a 'naturally gifted player' and has further added his recent rise across all three formats will push him to get even better.

At present, Babar Azam is the only male cricketer in the top three in the batters' rankings in all three formats. Pakistan's skipper occupies the top spot in both ODIs and T20Is and is currently placed at No. 3 in Tests. His recent rise has helped him to receive the highest praise from legendary cricketer Mahela Jayawardena, who believes Babar can reach the top in Tests as well at the same time while being No. 1 in the two white-ball formats.

In the latest episode of The ICC Review, when asked who can dethrone Mr. consistent Joe Root from the No. 1 batter in Tests, Jayawardena replied, "Tough one!... I would say Babar Azam has an opportunity. He's been consistent in all three formats and it shows in his rankings. He's a naturally gifted player, plays in all conditions, he's got the game to adapt as well. It depends on the amount of cricket, who's playing when and how much but the Babar might be the guy."

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Further, Jayawardena highlighted how Pakistan's batting unit has been batting around him which will of course push him, even more, to do better across formats. However, the Sri Lankan great also believes there are a few impressive quality batters across the world who can give Babar tough competition.

"T20Is and ODIs, it is a tough one to hold on to because there are a lot of good players who have to be consistent. As long as he can be that, because he has a very good role to play in that Pakistan setup – they have batters to bat around him so that he can play his own game – he should be able to hold on to that and at the same time, push himself to get better," Jayawardena added.

"...He's always going to push himself to get better. Seen in a couple of his interviews recently that it is his goal as well to be No.1 across the table. There's no harm in challenging yourself to get there. Being the captain as well, he has taken responsibility and performed, which is great to see. (It's) Not an easy thing to do. I would put my money on him at least for a little while to hold to all three but there are some good quality players around who will keep pushing him."

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