Babar Azam unleashed his batting prowess in Brisbane with a scintillating 104-run-knock and bounced back strongly after playing a loose shot in the first innings. Australia cricket legend and former captain, Ricky Ponting, is awestruck by what he saw at the Gabba and has lent his guidance to the rising star.
"Everyone saw how classy a player he is, technically when you are watching, he is very very good. He would have been disappointed with his first-innings dismissal, playing a poor shot early on but it looked like he assessed how he had to play in Brisbane to make some runs," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
Ponting enjoyed vast success in his illustrious career — he scored 13378 runs in Test cricket, second highest in the longer format, at an average of 51.85. He has 41 hundreds and 62 half-centuries to his name and was a superb exponent of the pull shot while his cover drives were celestial. He passed on his words of wisdom that Babar could use to build on his success.
"You look at the way that he played in the second innings to the first innings, I mean his defence was tidy, he played the ball a lot later, waited for the bowlers to come to him and then we saw how strong he is off front and back-foot so look he is a classy player.
Ponting has harbingered run-spree for Babar if he sticks to his guns and replicates Gabba heroics with the bat where he played with a lot of patience and prudence.
"I think the fact that he has done that today should be a really good learning curve for him for future overseas tours, not just the rest of this series but going somewhere like South Africa or even England, places like that where he is (going) to have conditions similar to Brisbane. If he plays with a sort of blueprint from today's innings then he is going to have success all around the world.
Ponting shared his own example when he first burst onto the international scene, he would often try to dominate the opposition far too early in the game and overlook what the situation demands.
"Finding your feet at Test level, trying to find a way to survive in the game, I think that's an important thing. Young blokes, like him coming into the game with a lot of talent, with a lot of skill, it's quite easy to get a bit ahead of yourselves, same as what I did, I came with all the shots in the world, it's picking the right times to play them and understanding the situation of the game and how you are (going to) give yourself the best chance to have success."
Part of three consecutive ODI World Cup-winning teams for Australia, Ponting is thriving as an analyst and commentator. He has been involved with the coaching of the national team therefore, needless to say, his sage words carry immense weight. He particularly liked the way Babar adjusted the flaw and came back strongly in the second innings of the first Test.
"And if you look at his first-innings dismissal where he just sort of, you could see he was trying to impose himself on the contest just a bit early than he should have so but if he keeps learning and thinking about what he did today (fourth day of Test) that's an important thing.
"When you have success, you (got to) look back and think about why you have the success and break it down," said Ponting.
Also, it won't hurt if Babar could take a leaf out of Ponting's book on sledging fundamentals as the aggressive captain often used to rile up the opposition team members in his heyday and was a very fierce competitor like most of the Australian cricketers.