DUBAI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has reclaimed the top spot in the latest ICC Men’s T20 International (T20I) Batting Rankings, according to a statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
"In the rankings that were announced last week, England’s Dawid Malan (831 points) led Babar (820 points) by 11 points. Since the last announcement, Babar has notched up half-centuries against Afghanistan (51) and Namibia (70), whereas Dawid Malan had scores of eight against Australia and six against Sri Lanka in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup," the statement reads.
"Contrasting performances in the past week has meant Babar has turned the 11-point deficit into a 36-point lead over Malan. As such, Babar is now the only batter to sit inside the 800-point mark on 834 points, while Malan has slipped to 798 points."
The PCB statement said it was the sixth time that the Pakistan captain has topped the T20I batting charts.
"It is a good little motivation to be back on top of the T20I rankings. But the bigger picture is that these performances have helped Pakistan to rise to No 2 and become the first side to qualify for the semifinals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021," the statement quoted Azam as saying.
He said that every player contributed in a team sport and the squad was "well aware that the job is half done".
"Our focus firmly remains to maintain the standards we have set in this competition and finish the tournament like we have started so that we can properly celebrate [the] team and individual achievements," Azam said.
The PCB said that Azam's return to the number one ranking came in the same week as Pakistan leapfrogged India into the second position of the T20I rankings after their five-wicket victory over Afghanistan.
The ICC also hailed Azam's feat on Twitter.
"The champion batter is already ranked No 1 in ODIs (one day internationals) and seventh in Tests, which is a testament to his talent, skill and consistent performance across all formats," the PCB statement said about Azam's past accomplishments.
Azam overtook Indian captain Virat Kohli to become the number one-ranked ODI batsman in the world in April.
He followed that up by usurping another record from Kohli, becoming the fastest cricket player to reach the milestone of 2,000 runs in the T20I format, having accomplished the feat in just 52 innings compared to the Indian captain's 56.
Later in May, Azam was voted the ICC's Men’s Player of the Month for April 2021.
Meanwhile, Wednesday's statement also highlighted that Azam's opening partner Mohammad Rizwan was merely two points away from breaking into the top three of the T20I batting rankings.