Babar Azam has suffered a case of the nervous nineties twice in his Test career. In 2016, against New Zealand in Hamilton, he was unbeaten on 90. Recently, in the Abu Dhabi Test against Australia in 2018, he was trapped LBW for 99 by Mitchell Marsh. Against New Zealand in Dubai, the talented right-hander broke his century drought by smashing an impressive 127 to put Pakistan in a brilliant position. Azam received plenty of plaudits from social media but one tweet from Zainab Abbas, a prominent Pakistan sports analyst, annoyed the batsman. In her tweet, she congratulated Azam but referred to him as coach Mickey Arthur’s ‘son’.
In response, Azam told the journalist to not cross her limits. This exchange on Twitter went viral and things got a lot more confusing when Imam ul Haq retweeted Azam’s tweet.
Think before u say something and don’t try to cross ur limits!!! https://t.co/w8I8139OeY— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) November 25, 2018
Speaking after getting to his century, Azam said, “I'd be lying if I say that not scoring a Test century was burden on me. I have never had issues with my batting position, wherever the team wants me to bat, I am happy to play at that position. I don't think about the position, I just focus on my performance. I just try and give my 100%.”
Pakistan won the Test series against Australia 1-0 in October but they are currently trailing the three-match series against New Zealand 0-1, having lost the Abu Dhabi Test by a close margin of four runs. Sarfraz Ahmed’s side have lost only one series in the last seven years in the UAE, when Sri Lanka whitewashed them 0-2 in 2017/18.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had appointed Mickey Arthur as Pakistan's head coach in June 2016, taking over the role vacated by Waqar Younis' resignation in April following the team's early exit from the World T20. This is Arthur's third assignment with an international side after he coached South Africa from 2005 to 2010, and Australia from 2011 to 2013.
Recently, Azam became the fastest player to reach 1,000 Twenty20 International runs during the third and final match of the T20I series against New Zealand. He beat Virat Kohli's mark by one innings, with the right-hander completing the landmark in just 26 innings, beating the previous record set by Kohli, who reached 1,000 runs in 27 Twenty20 innings.