Babar Azam is a familiar name in the cricketing world since 2016. A highly talented & skilful batsman from Pakistan, he has grown in stature every passing year. There was a time around 2016 when fans used to talk about Fab 4 of modern-day cricket i.e Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, and Kane Williamson. Fair to say, Babar has made sure to change it to Fab 5 going forward.
Babar has become the reliable batsman for Pakistan in all formats. He is one of the very few batsmen today to average 40+ in every format. Like all great batsmen, he knows to put a price on his wicket every time he is at the crease. However, there have been times when he got out on the first ball he played. Let’s look at 4 instances when Babar Azam scored a golden duck in International cricket.
1. New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st ODI at Wellington (Jan 2018)
This was Babar’s second-time tour to New Zealand, after a decent outing in 2016. In 2016, Pakistan played 2 ODIs and 2 Test matches against NZ. Babar only managed to score 287 runs.
In 2018, this was a matured Babar Azam. He sure would have wanted to better his record in NZ this time. But, fate had its say. NZ posted a daunting 315 run target for the visitors in the 1st match. Pakistan couldn’t handle the swing of Trent Boult & Tim Southee. The latter getting Babar out for a golden duck with an LBW as Pakistan went on to lose the reduced 30 overs match at Wellington.
2. Pakistan vs New Zealand, 1st ODI at Abu Dhabi (Nov 2018)
Strange as it may sound, in just 8 months, it was New Zealand who toured Pakistan (Dubai). This was a long series of 3 T20I, 3 ODIs, and 3 Test matches. After getting a clean sweep in the 5-match ODI series earlier in the year, Pakistan had to turn things around at home.
Pakistan had won the T20 leg of the series 3-0. Now they aimed to crush New Zealand in the ODIs too. But, New Zealand had other ideas. They won the toss and posted a decent total of 266 on the board. In reply, Pakistan had the worst of starts. Trent Boult reduced Pakistan to 8/3 getting Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, and Md Hafeez in 3 consecutive deliveries. This was Babar’s second golden duck in international cricket. NZ eventually won the match by 47 runs, and Boult accounted for 6 wickets in the match.
3. Pakistan vs South Africa, 1st T20I at Lahore (Feb, 2021)
International cricket was slowly returning to Pakistan and this series played a major role. South Africa was touring Pakistan after 14 long years to play 2 Test and 3 T20I matches. Amidst the tight security, the series began and Pakistan was clearly the fan favourites.
After comfortably winning the Test series, Pakistan was the favourite to win the T20I series too. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first. Although Mohammad Rizwan went on to make an unbeaten century (104), it was captain Babar who got into a mix-up with his partner and was run-out on the first ball. There we have it, the 3rd golden duck for Babar Azam. Pakistan posted 169 runs on the board and managed to win by a mere 3 runs in the end.
4. Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, 1st Test at Harare (April 2021)
If there’s one thing more common sight than Sri Lanka changing its captains, it’s Pakistan playing Zimbabwe in a calendar year 😀
So much so that, recently even the legendary Wasim Akram was heard talking about this trend.
So, the Pakistan team toured Zimbabwe for 3 T20I and 2 Test match series. Pakistan was a clear favourite. After winning the T20 series, it was time for the 1st Test match. Zimbabwe could only manage 176 in their 1st innings, but the highlight of the match was Donald Tiripano getting Babar caught on 1st ball for his 4th golden duck of the career. Pakistan eventually defeated Zimbabwe by an innings in both Test matches to take the trophy home.