Babar Azam is a name that is already on the lips of many Pakistani cricket fans. At the tender age of only 15 he is seen by many as a bright star of the future and for many fans it's a case of it's only a matter of time before he is selected for the Pakistan senior team.
Babar has been a consistent performer at under 15 level for Pakistan and also in the recently concluded Under 19 inter regional domestic competition where he made 361 runs at an average of just over 45.
He was also a member of the squad in the tri series competition played in Sri Lanka a few weeks ago, where he made scores of 38, 127, 23 and 25 against the hosts and Bangladesh.
PakPassion caught up with Babar as he prepares for the Under 19 World Cup to be held in New Zealand next month.
"My daily schedule starts very early and I like to start my practice sessions at 7am. Normally I take a break at around midday, break off for some lunch and rest for a couple of hours before starting my afternoon practice for most of the afternoon and early evening" stated Babar.
"After completing my fitness training, nets and other areas of practice, I then concentrate on my studies. I have evening tuition sessions to ensure that I don't fall behind in my schoolwork, which of course is very important" added Babar.
Babar who will be a vital member of the Pakistan Under 19 World Cup squad continued "My favourite current cricketer is A B DeVilliers. I really like the way he bats and of course his fielding is also exceptional. I try to model my batting on DeVilliers and always try to watch his innings on television. DeVilliers is a brilliant fielder and watching his agility in the field and his anticipation is brilliant. Similar to DeVilliers I prefer to field in the covers, although I can also field in the slips and at point or gully".
Babar who along with the rest of the Under 19 World Cup squad is currently being put through his paces at the conditioning camp at the NCA in Lahore continued "I started playing cricket at a very young age and started playing tape ball cricket at the age of 11. I then started training at the NCA under the watchful eye of coaches such as Mansoor Rana who has been very helpful. My cousin's Kamran Akmal, Adnan Akmal and Umar Akmal have also been very supportive. Kamran is always offering me good advice and is really pushing me to work hard on my cricket. It's fantastic to have family members who are playing first class cricket and playing international cricket. They offer me such good advice and guide me along".
Babar felt that the recently concluded tri series in Sri Lanka was very helpful in preparations for the World Cup. "It was a very valuable series and we played some good cricket that will hopefully assist us in our World Cup bid. The training camp in Lahore has been ongoing for 3 days now and it's been hard work but really good. Ijaz Ahmed is really pushing the boys and we are all working hard. Ijaz is a very good coach and helps all of us on areas we need to work and improve upon.
Babar is yet to play any first class cricket but has already signed a contract with ZTBL. "I'm yet to play for ZTBL, but when the chance arrives I can't wait to play alongside the likes of Sohail Tanvir, Imran Nazir, Saeed Ajmal and the rest of the boys. Of course I'd like to play first class cricket soon, but the most important thing is not to rush things and I'm sure the coach and captain will give me a chance when they think I am ready".
The Pakistan Under 19 squad leaves for New Zealand on 30th December where they will play 3 one day matches against the hosts prior to the World Cup.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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