Manchester, August 6: Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Babar Azam should certainly be counted among the contemporary best along with Indian skipper Virat Kohli especially in Test cricket.
Babar has 1850 runs from 26 Tests at 45.12 and 3359 runs from 74 ODIs but in the last two seasons he averages more than any other batsman in Test cricket. It formed the crux of Hussain's argument.
"Pakistan have a world class batsman in Babar Azam," Hussain told Sky Sports. "It's not only his stats but the way he gets them, how elegant a player he is.
"He plays through that offside beautifully, a lovely driver of the ball, good off the front foot and the back foot. He's a very, very watchable young man, he really is. Outstanding player.
"I think for Pakistan to win this series, Babar Azam needs to have a good series. If he has a good series, it will be very, very watchable. He is a gun player."
Hussain said it's disappointing that Babar does not get the same attention as the Fab Four of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root.
"I think it is a real shame and it is in part a consequence of Pakistan playing away from home, playing in the UAE all the time in front of no one, Pakistan hiding in the shadow of Indian cricket, not going over and playing IPL cricket, not playing India," he said.
"If this lad was Virat Kohli, everyone would be talking about it but because it is Babar Azam, no one is talking about it. He averages 68 since 2018 and 55 in white-ball cricket. He's young, he's elegant, he's got all the swagger. They keep going on about the fab four, it's the fab five and Babar Azam is in that."
"I've been trying to figure out why he has got better recently in Test cricket," said Hussain.
"I think he is playing pace a lot better and he is playing the ball later. High class. People get runs but also you've got to remember that you're trying to entertain people and when this lad bats and gets hundreds like he has been, he is so, so watchable.
"He's such a good player, he's in good nick. He did it in white-ball cricket at the start of his career but couldn't quite sort out Test cricket but we showed the stats earlier and since 2018 he's been the best Test match player. I think he's only failed once in that period, one single-figure score," said Hussain.