Babar Azam is the backbone of Pakistan team right now – Shahid Afridi

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi says Babar Azam is the backbone of his team right now, adding that the young batsman is a 'very fast learner'.

Azam, who recently dethroned Virat Kohli as the top-ranked ODI batsman, has been on the rise over the last 2-3 years. His outstanding run had also earned him the captaincy of Pakistan side across all three formats.

However, he added that there aren’t a lot of stars in the current side as compared to the previous era. “When we started out in 1996, there used to be 14 or 15 stars in a team,” he said in a TV show Sawal aired on Samaa News [as quoted by Samaa.tv].

When asked about his inspiration as an aspiring cricketer, Afridi named former Pakistan cricketer and now the Prime Minister of the country, Imran Khan.  “I always used to say to myself that if he could be blessed with such respect then why couldn't I?”

Talking about his passion for the game and his early days, the former all-rounder mentioned that he was beaten up by his parents for not studying and playing cricket all day long. “When I played under 14 and 18, there was only cricket in my all life,” he said. “I used to sleep in my kit if I had a match the next day because I didn’t want to be late.”

He was also supported by former cricketer Haroon Rasheed, who has also served the Pakistan Cricket Board in multiple occupations.

“There was no social media at that time, so people showed my pictures in Dawn and Jang to my father and said his son was indeed up to something good,” he added.

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