Ricky Ponting's 'scary thought' on Babar Azam: 'He's probably not at his peak yet'
Ricky Ponting believes for all the consistent exploits and the heights that he has taken his career to already, Pakistan's modern-day batting giant Babar Azam hasn't hit his peak yet.
The legendary Aussie right-hander reckons Babar will only improve from here onwards, which is a "scary thought" for the rest of the world cricket and opposition bowlers.
Ponting remarks came after Babar clinched a major ICC award to his name, receiving the Sir Garfield Sobers award for finishing as the men's Cricketer of the Year 2022 apart from being named captain of the men's ODI team of the year gone by.
Babar Azam had another exceptional set of 12 months with the bat for Pakistan. The 28-year-old averaged a whopping 69.64 over nine Tests and 17 innings, scoring four centuries and seven fifties. In the ODI game, Babar scored at nearly 85 apiece with three hundreds and five half-centuries over his nine innings.
The player didn't have the best of times in T20Is but his overall output and influence on Pakistan's fortunes made him ICC's preferred choice for the prestigious award named after the West Indies legend.
Ponting backs Babar Azam to scale further heights
Speaking of the Pakistani stalwart to ICC, Ponting said this is not even the best of Babar Azam, foreseeing a period where he would scale further great heights at the international stage, nailing all three formats across conditions - which would be a spectacle worth witnessing.
"He’s probably not (at his peak). Most batters come into their prime in the start of their early thirties. You’re sort of working on your game and improving your game right through to a certain point. And that for most guys is it," Ponting said.
"You look at where Steve Smith and (David) Warner and those guys have been. Steve Smith is probably playing as well as he’s ever played now, along with guys like Kane Williamson as well in their early thirties."
For Ponting, Babar still has room for a "little bit of improvement", which is a "scary thought" from the opposition's perspective as the elegant batter would only take his game two notches higher from now on.
"So I think Babar’s still got a little bit of improvement to come, which is a pretty scary thought with what he’s been able to do, pretty much across all three formats over the last three, four years."
"I love watching him play. I think there’s some room for improvement, let’s hope we see it," Ponting added for Babar Azam, who is ranked No.1 in ODIs, No.4 in Tests and No.3 men's batter in T20Is.