It has not been an entirely auspicious start to Pakistan's World Cup campaign as they lost their first warmup match against Afghanistan. However, the side is a strong one and has a plethora of match-winners up their sleeves and the presence of Babar Azam is certainly a huge boost for Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke is mighty impressed with Babar Azam and said that a lot will depend on the young man if Pakistan is to make it to the semi-finals.
Azam was the star in the warmup clash
Babar Azam was the star against Afghanistan when he scored 112 off 108 balls but did not find any support from the rest of the Pakistan batting order as Afghanistan restricted them to 262 in 47.5 overs. Clarke even compared Azam with Indian captain Virat Kohli for the impact he has had on Pakistan's batting.
"Babar Azam is real class no doubt about that. For me, he's the Virat Kohli of Pakistan's line-up. If Pakistan wants to qualify for the semi-finals or final, a lot will depend on his young shoulders," Clarke said during commentary.
It has been a young career so far, but Azam has made a sparkling start. He is the fastest batsman to reach 1,000 T20I runs, a feat he reached in only 26 innings and overtook Kohli in the process.
"We have some serious batsmen in our team but he has the ability to be as good as anyone in the world," Pakistan coach, Mickey Arthur said, about the right-handed batsman. "If he's getting us a 100, we're comfortable we have the batsmen around him to get 300-320.
"Over the last two years, his strike rate is around 80 and he knows he needs to increase that, as do some of the other batsmen and we've spoken about that," he further added.
Pakistan comes into this World Cup with their past performances being below par. They were beaten by South Africa, Australia and England. They found some form in England, but were blown away by the hosts and now need to shore up their stocks smartly in this tournament.
Azam is confident he can switch gears if the situation demands more aggression.
"If I can be number one in the world without power hitting, then I don't need power hitting," he said.
"But when I need to, I utilise it well. My individual role is to take the innings as deep as I can and perform in a way that benefits the team most," Azam further added.