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Babar Azam chases elusive T20I ton as he prepares for England challenge
Pakistan News

Babar Azam chases elusive T20I ton as he prepares for England challenge

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has set his sights on a maiden T20I century in the upcoming series against England as he tries to tackle a quick transition in formats.

The idea of a T20 ton is not too far-fetched for Babar as he has recorded three triple-figure scores in the shortest format, though none at the international level.

He was the standout performer for Somerset during last year's T20 Blast competition where he even smacked a glorious hundred against Hampshire in Southampton.

The 25-year-old's highest score in T20Is is an unbeaten 97 against West Indies a couple of years back at the National Stadium, Karachi.

Given his esteemed calibre, Babar remarked he had the hunger to go big and was keen on converting his starts into match-defining innings.

“That is always in the back of my mind whenever I play. I yearn to score a century in T20Is and to be honest, my aim is to score one in this series,” Babar told reporters on the eve of the first T20I.

"I regret not being able to convert my starts into huge scores but this is a learning process. I have analysed my mistakes and intend not to repeat them here."

Babar, the world's top-ranked T20I batsman, also faces the challenge of a swift turnaround from the Test assignment recently completed against the hosts.

Although Babar enters the series in good touch fresh from a half-century in the final Test, he will have to do well to adjust to the demands of T20 cricket in Manchester.

"It's really difficult to come from red-ball to white-ball," Babar conceded.

"We only got one day for practice, yesterday we had a little bit with the white ball. It's all in the mindset, we hope that we will come up with a good performance."

Pakistan do harbour the presence of white-ball specialists in their line-up and Babar felt these cricketers had been provided with enough time to get in the groove.

"Our T20-specific players have been practising so the aim is to win the series. We will not take England lightly as they have good white-ball players too."

Babar hinted at the potential promotion in the batting order for leg-spin all-rounder Shadab Khan, who starred with the bat during the Pakistan Super League earlier this year.

The Islamabad United captain mostly batted at No. 4 throughout the unfinished tournament and blasted 263 runs at an average of 37.57 and a strike rate in excess of 159.

"The way Shadab batted in the PSL and the way he performed in bowling, it is in front of you. We are also thinking of utilising him as much as possible and may send him up the order if the situation requires," Babar said of the 21-year-old who played in the first Test.

Responding to doubts over Pakistan's inexperienced pace bowling arsenal besides Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, Babar asked for patience while judging the likes of Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah.

"When these young bowlers come through the PSL, you have to give them time in the middle and they can only become better after spending more time with senior players."