Babar Azam acknowledges Ricky Ponting's praise

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said it was an honour to hear Australia great Ricky Ponting's recent claim that his best form with the bat and as a captain is still ahead of him.

Ponting was full of praise for Babar when he spoke with Sanjana Ganesan on a recent episode of The ICC Review, with the former Australia captain saying the Pakistan star was capable of breaking even more records during the remainder of his career.

"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," Ponting said, after Babar won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year for the first time and ODI Cricketer of the Year for the second straight year.

"I love watching him play. I think there’s some room for improvement, let’s hope we see it.

Babar said it was a great thrill to hear what Ponting had said and that it would provide him with further confidence.

"You get confidence when a legendary player gives you a compliment and you try to be better," Babar told ICC Digital.

"When such a huge player passes positive comments, it adds to your confidence and you have it in your mind that such a huge player is talking good about you.

"Because these players have been through a similar stage so they know what mindset I have. They have been through similar scenarios and have knowledge of the game.

"So yes, I try to take these comments in a positive way and try to produce my best."

With Babar leading the team Pakistan reached the semi-finals of a second consecutive T20 World Cup, but Ponting feels their skipper will continue to learn and grow as a captain.

I must admit he looked like he got a little bit flustered at times at the T20 World Cup, certainly the game against India when things got really tight at the end,” Ponting said in January.

You could see a few of the senior players, Shadab Khan in particular, going over to him and trying to settle him down and just make him think a little bit clearer.

But that’s the T20 game. Being a captain of the T20 team is never an easy thing to do, especially in a World Cup, and especially in a moment that was as big as that one was when things were getting really tight.

I’m sure with a bit more experience under his belt, like he’s done with his batting, I’m sure he’ll find the right way to lead and be a very successful captain of Pakistan.

When questioned on his leadership style, Babar said he focuses on getting the best out of his teammates.

My (captaincy) style is that you have to be honest with your decisions," said Babar.

Play the team that is best for Pakistan and go with the right players.

When you are on the field, you have to give confidence to your players.

The more you give confidence the better you can get out of them.

What a player is thinking and how can you put him in his comfort zone, that is what matters to me.

Babar is also comfortable collaborating and seeking advice with his teammates when necessary, naming Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Rizwan as players he often talks with off the field.

"The good thing about us is we all are united," Babar said.

"That’s a plus point for our team. When someone is down, he will already have a player to support him.

"That’s a positive sign for us as a team. It’s been five or six years that we are playing together so we know each other’s nature and mindset.

"Whenever there is such a situation we embrace each other and give confidence to ourselves."