LAHORE-Babar Azam has strengthened his status as the world’s most gifted, skilled and all-rounded batsman by returning to the top-five of the latest ICC Test batting rankings, by virtue of which he has become the only batsman to feature in the top-five across all formats. 

In the latest ICC rankings released here on Tuesday after the Southampton Test, Babar has leapfrogged Australia’s David Warner into fifth position and now has New Zealand captain Kane Williamson firmly within his sights. The New Zealander leads Babar by 14 points, with Australia’s third-ranked Marcus Labuschange another 15 points ahead. If Babar produces a strong performance in the final two Test innings on the current England tour, he can potentially achieve his career-high ranking in his young Test career, which is just 28 Tests old. 

The batting table is headed by Australia’s Steve Smith with India’s Virat Kohli in second place. Joe Root, who makes the ‘fab-five’ along with Smith, Kohli, Williamson and Babar, is ranked ninth. Babar is the only batsman in the ICC player rankings to feature inside the top-five, which is a hallmark of a champion and highly-talented batsman. Babar occupies third place in the ODIs, just behind India’s duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and ahead of fourth-ranked Ross Taylor of New Zealand and Faf du Plessis of South Africa. Williamson is ranked eighth, Root ninth and Smith 21st.

In the T20Is, Babar sits on top of the tree, with Lokesh Sharma (India), Aaron Finch (Australia), Colin Munro (New Zealand) and Glenn Maxwell (Australia) to follow. Kohli is 10th, Williamson 16th, Root 34th and Smith 52nd. Following the latest ICC update, Abid Ali has broken into the top 50 for the first time in his career by claiming 49th position, while Mohammad Rizwan has moved up to 75th spot. Both the batsmen scored half-centuries in the rain-marred second Test. 

In the bowling table, Mohammad Abbas has continued to slowly by surely move up the charts. After his two for 28, he has gained two spots and is now ranked eighth. A few more wickets in the third Test will help Abbas to move ahead of Australia’s seventh-ranked Mitchell Starc, who is leading by 12 points. The bowlers’ list is headed by Australia’s Pat Cummins, followed by Stuart Broad of England and New Zealand’s Neil Wagner. In the all-rounders’ list, Yasir Shah is the highest-ranked Pakistan player in 19th position. Ben Stokes of England, Jason Holder of the West Indies and Ravindra Jadeja of India occupy the top-three spots.