Babar Azam set to feature in BPL for first time since 2017

He will play for Rangpur Riders in 2024

September 07, 2023
Babar Azam celebrates after scoring a century. - AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam was roped in by Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Rangpur Riders on Wednesday.

The prolific right-hander will feature in the BPL for the first time since 2017, when he played for Sylhet Sixers.

The Riders opted for a unique way to reveal the signing of Azam on its social media platforms.

"We are here with another surprise after signing the world's No. 1 all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan in the fight for victory! Dear Rangpur Riders fans, guess who is going to be the new rider by matching the information given in the picture, and share your opinion in the comments,” the franchise said in a post on its official Facebook account.

The post also had an image, titled 'Guess the rider', with hints such as 'he made his ODI debut in 2015', 'He's the first player to score more than 5000 runs in his first 100 ODI innings, and 'He's the captain of currently ranked world's no. 1 ODI team', which immediately revealed that the side had signed Azam.

It must be noted that Pakistan’s pacer Ihsanullah will also be part of the Riders for the 2024 edition of BPL.

Yesterday, Azam, 28, also became the fastest captain to 2000 ODI runs in just 31 innings, breaking Kohli's record who reached this feat in 36 innings.

He did it during the Pakistan vs Bangladesh encounter in the first Super Four match of that ongoing Asia Cup 2023 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.

Apart from those two, South Africa's AB de Villiers reached this milestone in 41 innings, Australia's Michael Clark in 47, India's MS Dhoni and England's Eoin Morgan each in 48.

It must be noted after making his debut against Zimbabwe in 2015 in Lahore, Azam has changed the fortunes of Pakistan cricket as the team which was recognised due to their batting failures has now turned into a match-winning outfit.

Calling Azam the key to Pakistan's success in the recent past would not be wrong on any level as he not only led this side to number one rank in ODIs but also performed consistently with the bat — with many records broken and some still to break.

Faizan Lakhani is Deputy Editor (Sports) at Geo News.