Babar Azam is a 27-year-old batter from Pakistan and is known for his discipline, passion and cool-headed attitude. The Lahore-born cricketer made an instant mark and climbed up the ranks in age-group cricket. In 2008, he played the U-15 world championship and followed it up with two U-19 World Cups, one in 2010 and another in 2012. He was Pakistan’s top scorer.

“We didn’t have to guide him, he was on his own, but we were supportive all the way,” Kamran Akmal said of his first cousin Azam.

The right-handed batsman scored regularly in age-group domestic cricket and he received the national side call up in 2015. Soon after his debut in 2005 in an ODI series against Zimbabwe, the only thing he did was score runs.

His Test debut was prompted by a hat-trick of ODI centuries against the West Indies. With an opportunity to cement his spot in Test cricket, he grabbed it with both hands as Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq slowly brought curtains down.

The following years saw Azam become Pakistan’s best batsman and started being considered as the best batsman in the world. With loads of careers left in front of him, he had already become one of Pakistan’s greats.

He became the second-fastest to 2000 ODI runs and the second-fastest to 1000 T20I runs. He also has more ODI hundreds than all but two Pakistan batsmen. While he didn’t get instantaneous success in red-ball cricket, it took him years but he got there eventually.

In 2019, he was appointed T20I and ODI captain and was eventually named captained the Test side captain in 2021. While some players dwindle after being named the captain, Azam had little effect on his form.

While he still doesn’t show signs of one of the deep thinkers of the game, he shows room for improvement.

Azam is the cousin of the Akmal (Kamran, Umar and Adnan) brothers and his favourite cricketer is AB de Villiers.