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“He’s a real star in the making”: Australia legend hails Pakistan youngster

Dubai: Former Australia Skipper Ricky Ponting has predicted a bright future for the inexperienced Pakistan batter eho he thinks can leave his mark on proceedings during the T20 World Cup.

Ponting also believes Pakistan look a much more settled team with Babar Azam at the helm and has nominated a young batter at the top of the order that is ready to turn heads at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Babar was reinstated as Pakistan’s white-ball captain earlier this year following a brief period where star fast bowler Shaheen Afridi was in charge in the shortest format of the game.

And Ponting thinks Pakistan’s chances of going one better than their runner up finish at the most recent edition of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 and matching their sole title success from 2009, appear much brighter with Babar in charge.

“Captaincy just sits well with some people and it doesn’t sit well with others,” Ponting told The ICC Review.

“We’ve seen it through the years that some of the best players that have ever played the game have not necessarily made the best captains and the thing that makes some of the very best players so good is how focused they are on what they need to do to get better and to be the best and find a way every day to get better.

“And when you are captain, you can’t do that. You’ve got to actually compartmentalise what you’re doing, look after your own game, look after all the guys around you. So some guys can manage that better than others.

“I reckon Babar, when he first started, I had that feeling that he… because if you look at his record, his numbers went down on the back of it. So I think he might have learned a bit from that.

“Shaheen didn’t set the world on fire as a leader either, so I think going back into a World Cup it just looks like a more settled team when you’ve got someone like Babar as captain rather than Afridi.”

While much of Pakistan’s fortunes at the T20 World Cup will rest with Babar and reliable lieutenant Mohammad Rizwan, Ponting believes there is a young batter at the top of their batting order that might cause a surprise.

Saim Ayub opened the batting alongside Rizwan during Pakistan’s recent T20I series against Ireland and Ponting thinks the hard-hitting left-hander may be worth keeping an eye on at the T20 World Cup.

“I loved the look of Ayub out here during the Australian summer,” Ponting noted.

“He played that Test match in Sydney, I reckon it was and I didn’t know much about him then.

“When I’m sitting there commentating, I like to know about players and what they can do, so I actually went back and had a look at some of his PSL stuff.

“And he’s a proper player. I think he’s a real star in the making.”

Courtesy: ICC

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