Pakistan top order batsman Babar Azam feels that comparison with indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli is flattering and wants to adapt more like him. Babar is currently number one ranked in MRF Tyres ICC T20I Batting Rankings. He is 5th on ODI rankings for batsmen. Virat Kohli tops ICC Batting Rankings in test and in day international formats. Azam is improving his test batting credentials from last year. He aims to play role in earning victories for Pakistan. Babar Azam is in good form of late and will look to use that to good effect in Cricket World Cup 2019 for success of Pakistan team.
Babar Azam said: “It’s flattering to be compared to Kohli. He is very consistent, and his mindset is very good. He gives 100 percent every time he walks out to bat. I am at the start of my career, so the aim is to be like him, and be the epitome of performance in each of Pakistan’s wins.”
Babar has average of over 50 in ODIs and T20Is. He is among leading run scorers in shorter formats in recent times. Babar has a modest average of 35.28 in test cricket. He is top run-maker for Pakistan in tests since 2018. He has collected 760 runs at 50.66 average. He has become integral part of Pakistan side, making use of his potential in all formats of cricket.
Babar Azam stated: “I keep learning from my mistakes and I take advice from my seniors Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, because I want to be better and better in Test cricket. [Red-ball cricket] is the test of skill, patience and fitness of a player. The aim is to be the best for Pakistan across all formats.”
Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has backed Babar Azam to achieve great things. He is pleased with the progress of the right-hand batsman. Arthur reckons that cricket world is yet to witness the best of Azam.
Mickey Arthur echoed: “He will be in the top five (batsmen) of the world very soon across all formats. I thought I was a bit quick off the gun when I said two years ago that he would be almost as good as Kohli. But it has taken him a while to show that class. If you watched him in the nets couple of years ago, he was a young boy who has developed into a young man. He is got stronger and fitter, and his game gets better and better all the time.”
Trafalgar Square in London marked 100 Day Countdown to Cricket World Cup 2019. Historic monument of Nelson’s Column was transformed into giant wickets to signify the milestone. ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour driven by Nissan has started 100-day journey of England and Wales. CWC Trophy will travel to over 100 events around 115 places across the host country. The Trophy Tour will visit all host cities of the CWC19. Trophy will be transported in 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Cricket World Cup 2019 is set to take place from 30th May to 14th July 2019.
Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square commemorates Admiral Horatio Nelson. It was a befitting start to 100-day countdown to CWC 2019. Nelson’s Column became part of giant wickets to celebrate the moment. Clive Lloyd, Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Nasser Hussain, UK sports minister Mims Davies and other personalities participated in the marquee event. Cricket lovers in England and Wales will get once in generation opportunity to witness world’s greatest cricket players in action at home.
Steve Elworthy, Managing Director of CWC 2019 said: “The tournament is within touching distance now and it’s amazing to see the takeover of the iconic London location of Trafalgar Square to mark 100 days to go! This really puts the tournament at the front of mind for the fans both here and around the world. This ambitious launch demonstrates the lengths we will go to in making this tournament the most memorable ever – one that will inspire excitement among players and spectators alike around the world. To launch the domestic leg of our Trophy Tour in such a landmark location is fantastic, and we’ll visit many more memorable places as we engage with millions of people across England and Wales in the next 100 days.”
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson stated: “Years of planning goes into the delivery of an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, but the excitement becomes real with 100 days to go and the arrival of the trophy on the shores of England and Wales. Transforming one of London’s most famous landmarks into giant wickets is a wonderful way to kick start the celebrations for what I know will be the greatest ever celebration of cricket for hundreds of millions of fans around the world.”
ICC has announced warm-up fixtures for Cricket World Cup 2019 in England. All ten teams participating in the mega Cricket tournament will play two practice matches each. Fixtures will be contested between 24th May and 28th May 2018. Venues for these games are Bristol County Ground, Cardiff Wales Stadium, Hampshire Bowl and The Oval in England and Wales. These games will provide ample preparation for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, that will run from 30th May till 14th July 2019. These practice matches will be 50 overs a side affair, will not be official ODIs and will allow teams to field all 15 players.
Pakistan will start warm-up matches by taking on Afghanistan at Bristol County Ground on 24 May 2019. Sri Lanka will face South Africa in second fixture of the day at Cardiff Wales Stadium. CWC hosts England will square off against arch rivals Australia at Hampshire Bowl on 25th May 2019. Tournament favourites India will clash with another favourite New Zealand at The Oval on the same day. South Africa will take on West Indies at Bristol County Ground on 26th May 2019. Pakistan will meet Bangladesh at Cardiff Wales Stadium on same day.
Five time tournament winners Australia will compete with 1996 champions Sri Lanka at Hampshire Bowl on 27th May 2019. England will take field against Afghanistan at The Oval in second fixture of the day. Two time champions West Indies will face-off with New Zealand at Bristol County Ground on 28th May 2019. Bangladesh will contest with twice champion India at Cardiff Wales Stadium in second game of day to finish warm-ups.
Pakistan v Afghanistan – 24th May 2019 – Bristol County Ground
Sri Lanka v South Africa – 24th May 2019 – Cardiff Wales Stadium
England v Australia – 25th May 2019 – Hampshire Bowl
India v New Zealand – 25th May 2019 – The Oval
South Africa v West Indies – 26th May 2019 – Bristol County Ground
Pakistan v Bangladesh – 26th May 2019 – Cardiff Wales Stadium
Australia v Sri Lanka – 27th May 2019 – Hampshire Bowl
England v Afghanistan – 27th May 2019 – The Oval
West Indies v New Zealand – 28th May 2019 – Bristol County Ground
Bangladesh v India – 28th May 2019 – Cardiff Wales Stadium
World Cup managing director Steve Elworthy said: “It is always a huge milestone announcing an exciting warm-up schedule for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as it really highlights just how close we are to the action getting underway this summer.”
“These games provide another fantastic opportunity for fans to see world-class players at their local venue and allows the tournament to engage local schools and communities with another chance to get involved with the Cricket World Cup.”