Who Will Replace Babar Azam In Headingley Test? Here Is A Statistical Analysis

Pakistan demolished England in the 1st Test match of the two-Test match series. However, a huge blow was delivered as Babar Azam was retired hurt and later it was revealed that he has a fractured forearm.

Going into the 2nd Test match at Headingley, Pakistan selectors and the captain need to determine who will replace Babar.

It is worth pointing out that the selection committee did not call anyone as the squad already has Fakhar Zaman, Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali — who are all first choice batsmen with an abundance of experience under their belt in first-class cricket.

Here is an overview of how these players rank statistically:

Saad Ali — Left-Hand Top Order Batsman

Saad Ali’s inclusion is entirely possible as he has the best average out of all three players and he has shown great confidence prior to his selection for Pakistan side. He is capable of hitting balls out the park while simultaneously having a great defense.

Image result for saad ali pakistan cricket

FC Matches Runs Scored Average 100s Strike-Rate
50 3473 46.93 9 51.58

Usman Salahuddin — Right-Hand Middle Order Batsman

Usman Salahuddin has been a part of Pakistan’s national side for a while now. He has traveled with the national side on different occasions and made his debut against West Indies in limited-over cricket. However, unfortunately for him, he failed to make an impact in his two innings – he departed for 5 and 8 runs respectively. He seems eager to prove his worth again and including him will strengthen Pakistan’s middle-order.

FC Matches Runs Scored Average 100s Strike-Rate
99 6329 46.53 20 44.90

Fakhar Zaman — Left-Hand Top Order Batsman

If Pakistan require a strong and an offensive start then selection of Fakhar Zaman makes sense. He is mentally very attack-minded and his aggression at the top of the order can help settle nerves of other batsmen. Not to mention, Zaman has already shown great signs in limited-over cricket, so it won’t be a shock to see him open the innings alongside Imam-ul-Haq with Azhar Ali moving down the order.

Zaman showed great signs of improvement and maturity in his batting during the build-up games to the on-going England series, which were played against Kent and Ireland. The cricket management has suggested that they are open to the idea of demoting Zaman down the order as well.

Image result for fakhar zaman

FC Matches Runs Scored Average 100s Strike-Rate
37 2389 41.91 6 63.20

Looking at the comparison of all three players, it is evident that all of them have something to offer and possess the ability to do so. The selection will primarily be dependant on how Pakistan want to approach the 2nd Test.

In my personal opinion, Usman Salahuddin’s selection makes the most sense. He’s a natural replacement for Babar Azam and including him will also mean that not too many changes have to be made to the batting order in which batsman went out to bat in the first Test match.

Furthermore, since 2010-11 season, Usman has scored 5844 runs at an average of 51.26 with 19 centuries. His performances warranted him a spot in Pakistan’s squad in the last 12 months. He performed well against touring teams in UAE and also scored an unbeaten 69 vs. Leicestershire in Pakistan’s warm-up games prior to England series.

Usman Salahuddin would be first Pakistani to make a test debut in his 100th First-Class match.

What do you think? Leave your comments in the comments section below.

Zarar leads the Sports & Auto sections at ProPakistani.

  • I’d go with Saad Ali. I think recent form should be a more important factor. While there’s no denying that Usman’s a great player, in the 2017 Quaid-e-Azam trophy, Saad Averaged 68.35 in 15 innings. What makes this statistic even more impressive is that last year’s tournament had bowler friendly pitches, so no one that had played more than 5 matches, averaged higher than 50. Even Fawad Alam averaged 40.7 and Usman averaged 37.9- albeit good averages but nowhere near as good as Saad’s.

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