Babar Azam Recalls Pre Stardom Days with Nasser Hussain:
The gloomy era of Pakistan cricket saw a light piercing through the blinding darkness back in 2016 when Zimbabwe visited the cricket-loving nation for the first time after the ill-fated attack on Sri Lankan team in 2009. Teams ever since, though reluctantly at first, have been visiting the country for bilateral series. In the words of Pakistan fans, Cricket has finally returned home. The English have come to play the purest format of the game against Pakistan on their home soil after a yawning gap of 17 years.
The Ben Stokes-led men will play a three test match series starting on the first of December. The series will run till 21st of December, entertaining the fans who are craving for red-ball cricket after months of back to back shorter format games. Along with the English squad, the commentary panel from England including Michael Aterton, Nasser Hussein and David Gower have also landed on Pakistan’s soil. Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton, two of the most refreshing commentating voices of cricket, have come to Pakistan for the first time as commentators through Sky Sports’ partnership with the PCB.
Nasser Hussain briefly interviewed the Pakistani ace batter and Skipper, Babar Azam, ahead of the first test match. The English commentator helped Babar reminisce about his days before becoming a star. In an answer to the English cricket-turned-commentator’s question of how the right-hander’s playing style is so natural, the 28-year old said, “In that area, my Dad’s role [as a coach] is very important. He supported me a lot. Whenever and wherever in Lahore, I had a match to play, he took me there. He saw all my matches, knew how to improve my batting and how [to be able] to play more cricket day by day.”
Hussain further asked Babar to share the moment during his career when for the first he thought of being good enough to play cricket for a long time. The Lahore-born responded with the following words, “I think [it was during my time] in Under-19. When I was playing in Australia in the Under-19 team. After that I decided that I will play for Pakistan. When I came to the Pakistan team I started well but [afterwards] struggled for nearly one and a half years. [The struggle made me think] that [maybe] I am not good enough to play for Pakistan but then I decided ‘No, I am good enough for Pakistan’ and then did my level best to perform.During that time, Mickey Arthur supported me alot [and] gave me chances. He asked me to only play and not think of any negative things. Turnaround was the West Indies series in Dubai [where] I scored 300 runs and [from there] gradually I started playing consistently.”
Apart from Mickey Arthur, Babar Azam said that he idealizes the Proteas great AB de Villiers and revealed that he used to emulate his every shot after watching the 360 player play on Television.
“To be honest, my role model is AB de Villiers because I love the way he plays all his shots. I used to see him on Television and the very next day I used to try to play the same shots in the nets and in the knocking when I went to the ground.”
The Pakistan Skipper across the formats, welcomed the English team to Pakistan and said that he is hoping both teams play good cricket in the series and the English team enjoys the situation in his country, Pakistan.