Book Reviews Sports

Book Review: Babar Azam – The Rising Star

Written by Omair Alavi

Synopsis

Finally, a book to celebrate the rise and rise of the Pakistan captain

Babar Azam is not just the best batter Pakistan has produced in the last few years, he now ranks amongst the best in the world. His classic cover drives are stuff dreams are made of, his technique is something every aspiring batter should follow and his ability to win matches is unmatchable.

Not many know that before he entered the cricket arena, he had to struggle for his dreams, and it is because of that hard work that he is now the king of the ‘cricket’ world.

Renowned journalist Qamar Ahmed takes a trip down memory lane to find out how a young ball boy who idolised Mohammad Yousuf became one of the finest batters of his era whom others idolize now, and how does he keep himself grounded in this day and age.

His ‘Babar Azam – The Rising Star’ is a collector’s edition where some of the finest cricket writers from around the world have penned their thoughts about the top-ranked Pakistan batter. Their insights about Babar are not just worth a read but worthy enough to be kept in your book collection.

If you didn’t know that Babar’s father was his first coach, and is his biggest critic, or that Lahore didn’t pick him at the Under-19 level, you must read this book.

For renowned journalist and broadcaster Shahid Hashmi details the career of the 27-year-old like a pro.

He not only lets you meet his first-ever coach Mama Juna but also tells you the outcome of his first-ever meeting with Shoaib Akhtar when he was the fastest bowler in the world and Babar was just a teenager facing him in the nets.

It doesn’t just end there for senior journalists, Rishad Mahmood, Omair Alavi (yours truly!), and Richard Heller (from the United Kingdom) all share their memories of the now-skipper of Pakistan’s earliest matches, his evolution, and even name the many people who have impacted his life and times.

Don’t be surprised if you find out that both Mudassar Nazar (at the National Cricket Academy) and Mickey Arthur (as Pakistan’s head coach) played an integral part in Babar’s development as a batsman.

It is within these pages that you will get to read about how the batting maestro improved his stance, what advice helped him correct his balance, and how he can play the cut shot so late and so accurately.

The readers will also get to know that Babar is the living breathing example of ‘practice makes a man perfect’, for he has been practising ever since he was a youngster.

In the end, former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani gives his two cents about the phenomenal batter, who became a world-class batter during his reign. Why he told the PCB official to look after this special kid, how they let him develop his own style and what were the reasons behind his elevation to captaincy. The former PCB head honcho has a lot to say.

Add to that, statistician Mazhar Arshad will convince you to start believing in numbers. After all, it isn’t every day that you get to read about statistics of a current Pakistani player who dominates every team imaginable.

The narration is simple and to the point, without exaggerating Babar and his achievements. However, the ‘Man of the Match’ award here goes to the photographers who have provided the action images that will keep the readers busy at their own pace. Be it a memorable picture with the trophy or a classy image featuring the man in a dapper suit. Every picture adds colour to this already colourful book.

My personal favourite is the ones where he is celebrating a win or raising his bat to acknowledge the crowd. What a sight!

Why was the book needed at such an early stage of the future legend’s career, you might ask? He may be new to the international arena when compared to other modern players, but he has done a lot more than others, hence this celebration of his success was always due.

One hopes that Qamar Ahmed continues to come up with more books in the series, talking about other sportspersons who have represented their country all over the world and made their countrymen proud.

Omair Alavi – BOL News

About the author

Omair Alavi