As the T20 World Cup approaches, it is becoming increasingly difficult for teams to find out how they will replace their best batters who are going through a slump, some even part of the Fab Four. However, such is not the case with Pakistan and Babar Azam, as the right-handed batter seems to be in the form of his life.

The Pakistani skipper is breaking records regularly in 2022, as he sits at the top of ICC’s batters’ rankings in T20I and ODI while occupying the third spot in Tests. His form has helped Pakistan to become more dominant and former Australia captain and legend Ricky Ponting thinks Babar Azam’s form will be the most crucial factor for Pakistan to clinch the T20 World Cup title.

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During a discussion at The ICC Review show, Ponting revealed he had seen Babar Azam playing in Australia a few years ago and thought highly of his abilities.

“I saw him up close and personal a couple of years ago out here in a Test series against Australia and I said it then, I thought the sky was the limit for this guy as far as Test match batting and, if anything, he’s probably got better and better in the last couple of years,” he said.

Ponting also said he doesn’t think Pakistan can win the forthcoming T20 World Cup if Babar Azam does not perform well. “If Babar doesn’t have a great tournament, I don’t think they can win,” he quipped.

Apart from Babar Azam, the 47-year-old also spoke highly of Pakistani wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan and left handed star bowler Shaheen Afridi, both of whom have displayed terrific form in 2022 ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Ricky Ponting remarked that it is integral for Babar Azam, who opens for Pakistan and their new-ball bowlers to perform at the peak of their abilities in Australia, where the pitch will not be helping the spinners much.

“Their openers are very important and their new-ball bowlers are very important, but that role of the spin bowler in Australia might be a little bit more difficult with wickets that probably won’t give them assistance,” he further stressed.

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The former cricketer also acknowledged the presence of Mohammad Rizwan and star pacer Shaheen Afridi, both of whom have been in exceptional form. He also noted that the batting order of Pakistan is heavily dependent on its skipper.

Pakistan came close to winning the T20 World Cup in 2021 when they registered a 10-wicket victory over India and advanced to the semifinals. However, they were beaten by Australia there, who went on to be crowned champions.