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The 25-year-old Babar Azam, Pakistan’s present limited-overs captain, recently revealed one old story when the former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar was got angry on him, and he just escaped from getting into the trouble.
That incident happened during a training camp. Former Pakistan cricketer Mudassar Nazar was instructing the players in that camp. When the Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar also joined in that camp, once Mudassar sent the teenager Babar Azam to face Akhtar.
Akhtar advised Babar that he would bowl full deliveries to him while he had to block it, not to drive. The excited teenager blocked the first two balls but drove the third one.
Babar recently told Cricbuzz, “I remember, there was a camp for the emerging players or Pakistan A. That time, they would even call some of us from the Under-15 team to practice with them. Mudassar Nazar, who was there, would call us to bat first. We were asked to bat first so that the bowlers could warm up and understand their paces.
“Shoaib Akhtar would come there at times, towards the end of the camp to bowl for a bit. One day, he asked for a batsman to bowl at and Mudassar bhai asked him to take me along with him. So I got ready and was quite excited. Shoaib told me, ‘Kid, I will pitch the ball full, just block it, don’t drive’. I said okay. I blocked the first two balls but drove the third one,” Babar Azam added.
Get out of the nets, or he will kill you: Mudassar Nazar saved Babar Azam from angry Shoaib Akhtar
Babar’s drive made angry to Akhtar while Mudassar understood that quickly and saved the teenager by advising him to get out of the nets.
Babar continued, “I kept doing that – block two balls and drive the third one. He was like, ‘Get me a new ball, I will show him’. Immediately, Mudassar bhai told me, ‘get out of the nets or he will kill you’. He took me out of the nets.”
However, soon, Babar and Akhtar became friends as the senior asked Babar to face him at the nets. Though Akhtar always bowled full to him, once he mistakenly delivered a bouncer which luckily went over his head.
Babar said, “However, whenever he would come to the nets thereafter, he would ask me to come and face him. He would bowl full but once, by mistake, he bowled a bouncer and luckily the ball went over my head.”
Babar Azam is now the most consistent batsman for Pakistan in every format of international cricket. While he has played 26 Tests, 74 ODIs and 38 T20Is where the right-handed batsman has scored 1850 runs (average 45.12), 3359 runs (average 54.17) and 1471 runs (average 50.72) respectively. He is currently the no.1-ranked T20I batsman, no.3-ranked ODI batsman and no.5-ranked Test batsman.