Babar leads ICC WTC ranking, leaves Kohli, Smith behind

Virat Kohli (left), Babar Azam (middle) and Steve Smith (right) — ESPN Cricinfo

Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has been ranked at fourth position (15 innings minimum) in the recently concluded World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-2023, leaving behind India’s Virat Kohli and Australia’s Steve Smith.

With an average of 69.10 in 20 innings, thanks to eight fifties and four hundred, Azam leads the chart.

Winner of the WTC 21-23, Smith has the second-best average of 55.40 in 30 innings with the help of six fifties and four hundred. Meanwhile, Joe Root of England is ranked third with an average of 54.20 in 34 innings laced with eight fifties and six hundred in the process.

Sri Lanka’s veteran Angelo Mathews averaged 48.40 with two fifties and two hundred in 16 innings while Kohli averaged the least among the top five batters, scoring runs at 34.65 per match with three fifties and a hundred.

On Sunday (June 11), Australia won the WTC final after defeating India comfortably by 209 runs.

Chasing a target of 444 runs, India were bowled out for 234 runs in their second innings on the fifth day of the match.

Earlier, Former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden named Azam among the modern-day great batters.

During a TV conversation before the WTC final between India and Australia at The Oval, Hayden said Babar is one of the modern-day greats.

“In a big game, it’s runs on the board always important. Steve Smith is a maestro for that,” Hayden replied when he was asked about the strengths of Australia for the final clash.

“If you think about modern-day greats, Smith, Kohli, Babar Azam are once in a lifetime and might be this generation cricketers,” he praised.

It must be noted here that Hayden worked with the Pakistan team as a batting mentor twice during T20 World Cups. In 2021, he was appointed batting mentor and Pakistan played the semi-final against Australia.

Later on, in 2022, he was once again roped in as the batting mentor and Pakistan played the final against England.

The explosive batter of his time often praised Babar for his batting skills during his stint with the green shirts.

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