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Babar Azam rises to the top of the ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings, ends Kohli’s three-year reign

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Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam has dethroned Indian skipper Virat Kohli as the No.1-ranked ODI batsman in the latest ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings.

The Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli was first adjudged as the best batsman in ODI cricket in August 2017 and held the record for 1,258 days until the latest update to the rankings released on April 14, 2021.

"This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time," Pakistan’s Babar Azam said.

Azam’s new status as the top ODI batsman in the world makes him just the fourth Pakistan batsman to have achieved the feat, after Zaheer Abbas (1983-84), Javed Miandad (1988-89), and Mohammad Yousuf (2003).

Babar Azam’s match-winning knock of 94 off 82 balls in the third ODI against South Africa helped him reach a career-best 865 points. Virat Kohli sits second with 857 points and Indian opener Rohit Sharma is third with 825 points.

Babar, who captains Pakistan in all three formats, has registered 3,808 runs in the 50-overs game and recently tallied 228 runs in the ODI series against South Africa.

Elsewhere, Babar Azam’s team-mates Fakhar Zaman (now in seventh position) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (rose to a career-best 11th place) also saw a rise in the ODI batsmen and bowlers rankings respectively.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Aamir Qureshi

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