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Babar Azam can set the World Cup on fire: Gautam Gambhir

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Former Indian opening batter Gautam Gambhir picked Pakistan’s all-format captain and top-ranked ODI batter Babar Azam amongst the top batters, to watch out for in the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 in India.

Gautam Gambhir was asked to pick one out of the current top batters — David Warner, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith, Babar Azam, Joe Root and Rohit Sharma — whom he will have his eyes on at the ICC World Cup 2023.

India’s World Cup-winning opener Gambhir replied: “Babar Azam”.

“I think Babar Azam possesses all kinds of qualities that he can set this World Cup on fire,” Gautam Gambhir said.

“I have not seen many players who have so much time to play. Yes, I believe that we have greats like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root, but Babar Azam has a different level of quality,” he added.

After making his international debut in 2015, Babar soon emerged as the top batter for Pakistan and has been ruling the white-ball formats since then, especially ODIs.

Babar’s astoundingly consistent run in the ODIs lifted him to dethrone his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli as the top-ranked ODI batter in April 2021 and was also named the ODI player of the year for two consecutive years.

The right-handed batter has spent around 900 days at the top of the ODI Batting Rankings and is likely to enter the ICC World Cup 2023 as the top-ranked batter with only India’s Shubman Gill being a major threat.

Babar-led Pakistan will start their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6 in Hyderabad, the same venue at which they will play their warm-up fixtures against New Zealand and Australia.

Pakistan squad for ICC World Cup 2023

Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, M Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha.

Travelling reserves: Mohammad Haris, Abrar Ahmed, Zaman Khan

Pakistan’s warm-up matches schedule:

  • September 29 — vs New Zealand in Hyderabad
  • October 3 — vs Australia in Hyderabad

Pakistan’s schedule for the ICC World Cup 2023:

  • October 6 – vs Netherlands in Hyderabad
  • October 10 – vs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad
  • October 14 – vs India in Ahmedabad
  • October 20 – vs Australia in Bengaluru
  • October 23 – vs Afghanistan in Chennai
  • October 27 – vs South Africa in Chennai
  • October 31 – vs Bangladesh in Kolkata
  • November 4 – vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)
  • November 11 – vs England in Kolkata

The day matches will start at 10:00 am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures, starting at 01:30 pm (PST).

READ: Pakistan team awaits Indian visa to participate in ICC World Cup 2023

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