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Ponting issues Babar warning to Australia

Former Australia skipper believes the 25-year-old is a better batsman that his Test record suggests

PHOTO: AFP

Former cricketer Ricky Ponting believes Australia needs to be wary of Pakistan’s premier limited-overs batsman Babar Azam in the upcoming two-match Test series between the two sides.

While speaking to cricket.com.au, Ponting said that the 25-year-old is a better batsman that his Test record suggests.

"We haven't seen the best of him yet," said Ponting. "Twenty-odd Tests for an average of 35 – he's better than that. He averages 54 in one-day cricket at a strike-rate of about 90. He's a very, very classy player.”

"He's a really exciting talent and probably the guy I'm looking forward to seeing the most this summer,” he added.

In his last tour to Australia, Babar particularly struggled in the Test format as he scored a total of 68 runs in six innings at an average 11.3.

The former Australia skipper believes that Pakistan need to utilise Babar in a better way in the longer format.

"What they've tried with him before obviously hasn't worked because when you watch him bat, he's better than a 35 average," he said. "If they can massage him and help him through a little bit, keep him away from the new ball a little bit here in Australia, then I think they'll get the best out of him."

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The Pakistan Twenty20 International (T20I) skipper has been in red-hot form since his arrival in Australia.

After scoring back to back fifties in the recently concluded T20I series against Australia, Babar played a brisk 157-run knock in the four-day practice match against Australia A in Perth.

It remains to be seen whether the 25-year-old can replicate his form in the Test series against the hosts, starting from November 21 at Gabba, Brisbane.