Babar Azam was 14 when Test cricket exited Pakistan and headed for the UAE. While the nation’s not against picking players who are (supposedly) that age, he didn’t play first-class cricket until he was a wisened old 16-year-old.
That isn’t to say he doesn’t know how Test matches played in Pakistan are supposed to go however.
Test matches played in Pakistan are to a great extent about painfully relentless run-scoring by frighteningly good middle-order batsmen. Inzamam-ul-Haq averaged 53 at home. Younus Khan averaged 59. Javed Miandad averaged 61.
Mohammad Yousuf – who really doesn’t get talked about anywhere near as much as he should – averaged 65.
This is just the way things are. You play a Test series in Pakistan and some bloke in a green hat is going to be hitting cricket balls for quite a large proportion of it.
When Test cricket returned to Pakistan in December, no-one in the middle order had much of a record. There was Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq whose records are solid and there was Babar Azam, whose Test returns up until that point would accurately be categorised as ‘promising’.
In three Tests since, against Sri Lanka and now Bangladesh, Babar has made 102 not out, 60, 100 not out and, at the time of writing, 143 not out.
Babar Azam is averaging 405 in Pakistan.
Babar Azam knows the rules.