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With the game of cricket divided into three formats, and the cricket nations trying their best to accommodate all three equally in their annual schedules, it often happens that one of them gets overlooked while the others get oversaturated. Speaking about formats, the T20Is have taken the sport by storm, especially with the increasing popularity of league cricket around the world.
This is the reason why the ODI’s have undergone quite a neglect especially when it comes to Pakistan Cricket. But the question is, is the lack of one-day cricket in Pakistan taking a toll on Babar Azam’s career chiefly when he’s at the peak of it?
Where does Babar Azam stand right now?
On the top without a doubt. At the moment, the 27-year-old holds the reigns of being the top batter in ODI with 891 and is followed by Virat Kohli who lags behind by just 80 points. Despite Kohli’s ailing form, the possibility of him crossing Babar over can’t just be ruled out.
On top of that, he is the leading run-scorer in the ongoing ICC World Cup Super League. He has been in tremendous form since the start of 2019. He averages 71 and strikes almost 100. From the England series in 2019, Babar Azam has scored at least one century in each of the series followed.
Statistically, India has played almost twice as many one-dayers between 2020-2022 as compared to Pakistan. Even other Asian countries including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have played more 50-over games during the same timeframe whereas the PCB has been very stingy in including ODIs.
As far as 2022 is concerned, Pakistan will play nine more one-day this year which include three 50 format series with West Indies (home), Netherland (away), and New Zealand (home) later this year. This raises the tally of ODIs that Babar and his men will play this year to 21 which equals what other Asian countries have already played and there will definitely be more.
Pakistan Played Less ODIs
Babar’s men have played the joint-most number of T20I matches since the start of 2020, playing 41 of them. In terms of Test cricket, they have played the fourth-most number of matches. Though for Test cricket, there has been a call to raise the number of games played in the series to three from two. Such was the recent case in the recent development of the upcoming Sri Lanka – Pakistan Test series.
On top of that, there were three ODIs to be played on Lankan Island. But due to the economic crisis in the country, they were canceled.
With Team Pakistan playing fewer ODIs, and if the 50 over game isn’t well adjusted into the schedules it could mean trouble for Pakistan. Additionally, it could have an impact on Babar Azam’s form and consequently his ranking.
World Cup Super League to be scrapped after 2023
The World Cup Super League was a new method introduced by the ICC for World Cup qualifiers so countries could qualify on League points rather than their ODI ranking. While WC Super League is a great balancer for the teams in playing an equal amount of games, this competition will be scrapped shortly following the conclusion of 2023 CWC. It is because, from 2027 WC onwards, the tournament will now have 14 teams instead of 10.
For 10 teams, the top 7 + hosts were needed for qualification while the bottom 5 will play WC Qualifiers. But for 14 teams, the top 9 + hosts will qualify directly through rankings while the bottom 4 will be qualified through WCQ.
Several associated cricket nations were disappointed including the Head coach Ryan Campbell. He stated that it was “disappointing not just for us” but every Associate nation and the chance for an associate to play against full members was what they had been waiting for.
“Every Associate country is wondering what next? How do we play? Where do we get our fixtures? Is the World Cricket League Two going to stay in place? How do you get into a ranking league and compete for a spot in the 2027 World Cup? There are lots of answers we need to find and I think that is only going to be in time.”