When Babar met Dale

Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Patriot, Jan 10, 2019.

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  1. Patriot
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    Patriot Boom Boom

    Oct 8, 2014
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    If there is a place Pakistani batsmen have, historically, enjoyed less than Australia, it is South Africa. Australia holds the more tortured place in the batting psyche of Pakistan, amplified by traumatic collapses and losses, plus just a longer history of it happening - it's 46 years, after all, since this.

    Collectively, however, Pakistan average 21.92 in South Africa. How bad is that? Nearly six-runs-per-wicket-less-than-Australia bad is how bad.

    Still, if you asked a Pakistani batsman of a certain vintage to draw a boogieman, the picture would be of a 6"5 beanpole with the occasional snarl, mean as heck with runs, hanging around that off stump like a pesky fly around rotting food, his inches drawing out bounce and his fingers and wrist movement off the surface. Glenn McGrath to you and I.

    McGrath is second on the list of most successful fast bowlers against Pakistan, but he's basically first given Kapil Dev is top. Kapil was a great fast bowler but nobody - certainly not the numbers - would say he exercised any kind of tyranny over Pakistani batsmen.

    Not much further down the list sits Dale Steyn who, in his own way and of his own time, has held a not-too-dissimilar meaning to Pakistani batsmen that McGrath did: shorter but quicker, less bounce but more swing, hounding the same edges, more intense and more explosive too.

    Mohammad Hafeez timed his retirement as sweet as he did some of his drives, but the top five Pakistani batsmen to fall most often to Steyn are all specialists. Only Misbah-ul-Haq can be said to have gained some measure of control over him.

    And the thing about this record is that Pakistan have only once come across Steyn in South Africa at his absolute peak, the last time they toured. That went well.

    ALSO READ: Dale Steyn, the greatest fast bowler of the century

    All of which is to bring your attention to Steyn vs Babar Azam, a duel, yes, but, on longer consideration, more a passing (to which we will return). Either way, it's been compelling because it has wrought such unexpected results so far.

    Compelling at several layers too. Numbers help give some shape to what has happened, which, in short, is that by some metrics, Steyn has not been dominated by a batsman in the manner Babar has done across two Tests. It is only two Tests and three innings, but with a minimum qualification of 50 balls faced, Babar's strike rate against Steyn is unmatched.

    in 2012during his imperious 149 is unparalleled: 64 runs, 12 fours, most of them magnificent, and that skyscraper six from 72 Steyn deliveries.

    ALSO READ: The age of Babar Azam begins

    In that sense, it was the flurry of boundaries from Babar in the first innings in Centurion that stood out: 10 boundaries in the 31 deliveries from Steyn but in which all 10 came in a span of just 24 balls. Pietersen at Headingley apart nobody has hit Steyn for that many boundaries in a single innings. It didn't stop there. In Cape Town during his second-innings 72 Babar hit Steyn for five more boundaries in 29 balls.

    Sixteen boundaries off just 66 balls is one more than Chris Gayle managed against Steyn in nearly twice as many balls, across nine innings, though he made up with three sixes. It's the same number Brendon McCullum and Ricky Ponting hit in 15 and 14 innings respectively against Steyn.

    The optics are even better: a young, gifted Pakistani batsman taking down the greatest fast bowler of this century, maybe of all time, in his own backyard (crib if you want, but he's in that conversation).

    Aesthetics matter in how we remember these encounters. So it was important that while Babar was not in control for four of the 16 boundaries - thrice edging low through the cordon, once fending off the gloves - the other 12, together, are still passing themselves off as some kind of dream, waiting to be shaken up into reality (outside edge, gone!).

    At Centurion the ball was 38 overs old when Steyn came back at Babar. He was still getting some away movement. And despite not having bowled for 15 overs, his first ball was 144kph (nearly 90mph sounds more impressive). Babar edged it, maybe taking stock of this challenge. He then moved into two cover drives so casually it was like he was shadow-batting on his way to the crease and not putting away balls delivered at 85mph and 91mph.

    nearly 16 years ago, the last in that bonkers Shoaib over to Sachin, the shared principle that the fury of the bowler is to be used as a force against him.

    But, here's the but (there's always a but).

    Steyn hasn't bowled badly to Babar. At Centurion especially he was getting some shape. He was quick too. Forty-six of the 66 balls Steyn has bowled to Babar have pitched on a length or just short of one, what we might consider good, productive lengths for such surfaces (though short at Babar body is a missed trick). He hasn't really erred in lines either and yet those 46 balls have ceded 53 runs and 12 of Babar's 16 boundaries. When he's driven him through cover, as with the first time in Centurion, it's often been on the up.

    But this is not peak Steyn, pre-2016 Steyn, pre-injuries Steyn. This is not the Steyn that Pietersen took apart, or the one Warner creamed 117 runs off of from 94 balls in South Africa in 2013-14.

    The pace still gets up there. The swing isn't AWOL. But some essential piece of him, some snap, has gone with all those injuries as well as to the uncomplicated demands of time - his body is 35 years old now after all.

    In fact, after Centurion, it was legitimate to wonder whether South Africa would drop Steyn in trying to fit four fast bowlers into three spots. He was asked in Cape Town what he would've done had he been dropped and he said, "I'd probably retire." He was, he said, joking and it won't make a difference against a batting line-up like Pakistan's (he still took seven wickets in the second Test), or perhaps against Sri Lanka later. But the question will come again.

    Also the circumstances of each innings have allowed Babar to Hail-Mary his way through. Pakistan have been down, nearly out each time, South Africa have pressed for the kill with attacking fields and Babar, undoubtedly gifted, has lit up a path through it.

    More than numbers, actually, it is the symbolism that has stood out, a kid pushing his way into the elite, on his way passing by a man who's confronted by the way out. The man's not done just yet, though, and nobody would be surprised if, at the Wanderers, Steyn reminds Babar who's who and what's what.
     
  2. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    The aim should be that when a bowler gets Babar out or has success vs him the whole world hypes that bowler up, iA, last Pakistan great player, there is this rubbish chat going around that Babar Is selfish or impactless, in most games Pak win Babar averages like 70+ so that’s saying something, the way he’s made runs in SA has completely made me happy because he used the pull very rarely now he’s pulled than drove and then cut and even flicked so I’m really happy.
     
  3. Bilal123
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    Bilal123 Tracer Bullet

    Dec 11, 2010
    6,325
    Babar is a talent however, until he scores big runs he won't get recognition. He needs to take the next step and go back to no.3 or 4 and score hundreds
     
  4. Passionate Pakistani
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    Passionate Pakistani The Don

    Jun 10, 2011
    67,943
    Babar has immense talent but yet to see him taking a game by the scruff of the neck. Looks like a guy more interested in personal milestones and playing anchor role. He is not someone who you can bank on win you the match by his own, someone like lets suppose Malik, Fakhar or even Hafeez.

    And this steyn article is diabolical. Steyn is nearing his end and is no way near his peak apart from making a comeback. Taking on him at this stage of his career is no big achievment.

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  5. ASLI-PATHAN
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    ASLI-PATHAN Cricistan Khan

    Apr 26, 2011
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    Few boundaries here & there doesn't make a player great. Winning matches for your country does.
     
  6. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    I understand what you’re saying but the problem is we lack even a half decent batsman, every batsman has one fault or another in them but this guy seems perfect, you can’t win many games on your own even the great Lara couldn’t.
     
  7. ASLI-PATHAN
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    ASLI-PATHAN Cricistan Khan

    Apr 26, 2011
    61,569
    20 Tests are more than enough of matches to tell you what kind of a batsman one is. 38 innings for 1 ton tells us that Babar is not a good test batsman. He is excellent LOI batsman but not upto the mark in the longest format. We should choose horses for courses.
     
  8. Passionate Pakistani
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    Passionate Pakistani The Don

    Jun 10, 2011
    67,943
    Perfect ??

    Do you smoke ?

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  9. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
    5,950
    No I don’t smoke and never will.

    Apparently Babar isn’t good, I’m gonna go mental with these people.
     
  10. Passionate Pakistani
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    Passionate Pakistani The Don

    Jun 10, 2011
    67,943
    Why are you going from one extreme to another. He is neither perfect nor average.

    A good batsman who mostly bats for milestones as far as tests are concerned.

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  11. ASLI-PATHAN
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    ASLI-PATHAN Cricistan Khan

    Apr 26, 2011
    61,569
    He is very good LOI batsman but not even closer to good in Tests YET. Potential is there but only time will tell if he fulfill this potential.
     
  12. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
    5,950
    Pakistan fans are the people who want to drive Mercedes but have 1 grand to spen lol, lol, lol, lol, lol, lol, lmao.
     
  13. ASLI-PATHAN
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    ASLI-PATHAN Cricistan Khan

    Apr 26, 2011
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    You can rent a Mercedes for one day on less than that.
     
  14. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    Lol, didn’t think of that.
     
  15. ASLI-PATHAN
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    ASLI-PATHAN Cricistan Khan

    Apr 26, 2011
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    That's the problem. Thinking
     
  16. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    Wait I got one, the rented Mercedes is equivalent to overseas players in PSL, genius.

    Lol, lmao.
     
  17. Passionate Pakistani
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    Passionate Pakistani The Don

    Jun 10, 2011
    67,943
    Guy has obsession with Babar and cant bear to listen the truth. Its okay it happens at this age.. we also had our moments when we were of your age.

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  18. Dare2Dream
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    Dare2Dream Talented

    May 4, 2010
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    Which is why we had guys like Hafeez hogging a spot
     
  19. ElRaja
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    ElRaja Talented

    Jan 12, 2013
    2,772
    look at how azhar, asad, shan, shehzad, etc all played when they had yk at the other end. pak have no leadership among batsmen, and no domestic system to teach guys to play long innings. babar's test record is poor, but he's the best we have in terms of batsmen who may move up a level in a few years.

    one thing i do hope is he continues to show attacking intent, his s/r of nearly 60 in his last 10 tests compares to mid 40s in first ten.
     
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  20. Bilal123
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    Bilal123 Tracer Bullet

    Dec 11, 2010
    6,325
    Not sure about this one. No idea where that perception comes from.
    Every batsman should aim for 100+ which I have heard him say he wants to do too. Not sure if that's called playing for milestones. The fact is getting hundreds for the team always helps. Now him not getting them is a different story!
     
  21. ComradeVenom
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    ComradeVenom Tracer Bullet

    Jul 24, 2012
    6,367
    Hes a good player but the article is a bit of a stretch.

    I mean its 3 innings against an aging bowler returning from injury.

    Dont get me wrong I think Babar has proved himself BUT hes got a long way to go.
     
  22. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    Kohli is a bit lattar mast, Babar is more safe.
     
  23. KingOfDoosra
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    KingOfDoosra Sultan of Swing

    Jun 8, 2012
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    Sorry but Babar has completely shredded Steyn into pieces. I know Steyn is not the same player he was 3-4 years back but to see a young Pakistani batsman take on the SA legend like this was refreshing to see.

    Reminded me of young Umar Akmal.
     
  24. Wistful Reminisces
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    Wistful Reminisces Banned

    Sep 21, 2012
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    Lmao, who did Akmal ever shred? xD
     
  25. KingOfDoosra
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    KingOfDoosra Sultan of Swing

    Jun 8, 2012
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  26. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    You can say Umar was in mold of Kohli, Babar is more Williamson than Kohli imo when Kohli first came he played all those exotic shots he still does but not as much as he used to.
     
  27. Ahson8
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    Ahson8 Sultan of Swing

    Jun 9, 2012
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    Bond, Johnson
     
  28. Wistful Reminisces
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    Wistful Reminisces Banned

    Sep 21, 2012
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    Overrated has-beens
     
  29. Ahson8
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    Ahson8 Sultan of Swing

    Jun 9, 2012
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    Bond was pretty good at the time
     
  30. ElRaja
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    ElRaja Talented

    Jan 12, 2013
    2,772
    umar was something when he started, people forget, that innings against nz he was streaky in the beginning but once he got in he bossed it with proper cricket shots, even his second innings.

    by the time he got to aus something switched in his head and he became a slogger, what on earth happened to the boy no one will know, but if the qae trophy final is anything to go by, original junior is still in there somewhere.
     
  31. Victorious Pakistan
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    Victorious Pakistan Smooth Operator

    Feb 29, 2012
    4,777
    Few odd boundaries here and there.. Hyped in tests but very good in shorter formats. This test team is a joke.
     
  32. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    @ASLI-PATHAN willing to give time to Yasir but not Babar, knowing Pakistan as you have watched them more than I have you should know a batsman is more precious for them than a bowler we have hardly had anyone and nkw the cupboard is empty, but then you support Younis and he even didn’t come of age until Bangalore if I’m not mistaken so why the hate for Babar?
     
  33. Disco Lemonade
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    Disco Lemonade Design Artist

    Dec 17, 2009
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    Until babar makes it big he is only going to be a prospect.

    We have had few prospects in the past. Hope he doesn't become umar akmal.
     
  34. Mohammed Bilal
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    Mohammed Bilal Tracer Bullet

    Jul 17, 2017
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    47 boundaries are not the odd one here and there, odd boundary here and there description fits Shoaib Malik when he bats in SENA.
     
  35. Energy
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    Energy Cornered Tiger

    Apr 22, 2012
    10,087
    Choti choti khushiyan.

    We've come down to this stage where someone hitting a few boundaries is enough to make our media wet their pants.
     
  36. MNA
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    MNA Smooth Operator

    Mar 11, 2015
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    3-0

    Only this fact counts.
     

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