Former Sri Lankan batter thinks that Babar Azam will soon dethrone Joe Root in the Tests

Babar Azam is the only player placed in the top three in all the three formats

Pakistan all-format skipper Babar Azam is the only batter placed in the top three formats, occupying the top spot in each of the white-ball formats and at number 3 in the Tests.

Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardena in the latest episode of The ICC Review declared which batter he thinks will be able to dethrone England’s Joe Root in the ICC Test batting rankings.

Joe Root has been ruling the number 1 Test spot since June this year, as the Englishman enjoyed a fine World Test Championship campaign and is also in the rich form under the new coach Brendon McCullum.

The former England skipper has scored more runs than any player since the start of this decade and deservingly took the ICC Test player of the Year award in 2021.

Jayawardena knows that many world-class batters are waiting in line to cross Joe Root at the top and has nominated Babar Azam as the player who has the brightest chance to earn the top spot in Tests in the future.

When host Sanjana Ganesan put Jayawardena on the spot during the latest episode of The ICC Review, the Sri Lankan veteran tipped Babar to dethrone Root at the top of the Test Rankings.

“Tough one!”

Jayawardena exclaimed.

“I would say Babar Azam has an opportunity. He’s been consistent in all three formats and it shows in his rankings. He’s a naturally gifted player, plays in all conditions; he’s got the game to adapt as well.

“It depends on the amount of cricket, who’s playing when, and how much but the Babar might be the guy.”

Pakistan all-format skipper Babar Azam is the only batter placed in the top three formats, occupying the top spot in each of the white-ball formats and at number 3 in the Tests.

With the recent rise in the Test rankings, Babar Azam has been the top favorite in the discussion regarding the milestone of No.1 in all three formats and Jayawardena believes that the Pakistan skipper has the ability to achieve this difficult feat.

“T20Is and ODIs, it is a tough one to hold on to because there are a lot of good players who have to be consistent,”

Jayawardena said. 

“As long as he can be that, because he has a very good role to play in that Pakistan setup – they have batters to bat around him, so he can play his own game – he should be able to hold on to that and at the same time, push himself to get better.

“He batted really well in Sri Lanka. I think Prabath (Jayasuriya) was his nemesis – he got him three times out of the four innings. That was a very good battle to watch. Babar got a really good hundred in the first Test match.

“He’s always going to push himself to get better. Seen in a couple of his interviews recently that it is his goal as well to be No.1 across the table. There’s no harm in challenging yourself to get there. 

“Being the captain as well, he has taken responsibility and performed, which is great to see. (It’s) Not an easy thing to do. 

“I would put my money on him at least for a little while to hold to all three but there are some good quality players around who will keep pushing him.”

Jayawardena then explained in detail what makes Babar Azam a special player with the former Sri Lankan indicating that he was most impressed by the batter staying at the crease. 

“(I) think it is just the technique, the time that he has, and the composure that he has out there in the middle,”

Jayawardena said in praise of Babar. 

“He’s not rattled at any time, whether he plays T20Is, ODIs, or Tests, he adjusts quite brilliantly.

“Joe (Root) in Test cricket is the same. He knows what he needs to do, he can the tempo when he wants to, and bats to what the conditions offer. Babar has that same quality, so that’s why he’s been so consistent in all three formats.”

The star batters will face each other later this year when England will tour Pakistan for a three-match Test series in December.

Meanwhile, Root also has the chance to cement his spot at Number. 1 in the upcoming series against South Africa while Babar has to wait for his number until the series against England later this year to make changes at the top.