Legendary all-rounder Shahid Afridi has admitted that he had his doubts about Babar Azam making it in the T20 format but admitted that the star batsman has proven him wrong.
In a chat with TV presenter Zainab Abbas, Afridi said that at first look he did not think that Azam had the makings of a T20 batsman.
"I thought Babar Azam would survive in Tests and ODIs but not in T20Is," Afridi said of Azam, who is not only the world's top-ranked T20 batsman but also captains the national team in both the limited overs formats.
"This was my opinion. But the way that guy has polished and groomed himself. The shots he plays. It depends on the goals you set yourself. It is always hard work.
"I can’t just keep thinking that I want to be like AB de Velliers or Virat Kohli. If you don’t work hard enough it can never be possible. In order to achieve any goal you always have to work hard."
Afridi's concerns were shared by quite a few earlier in Azam's career, especially when he was finding it difficult to inspire his franchise Karachi Kings out of their rut in the Pakistan Super League.
His pace and urgency (or lack thereof) of scoring were the main question marks but he has silenced his doubters comprehensively over the last year or so by maintaining his production, upping his strike rate and thus shedding the perception of a stat-padder.