England v Pakistan - Men's

Younis identifies the batter to fill his void

Babar Azam the batsman to step into his shoes, says Younis Khan ahead of Pakistan's Test series against England

Cricket Network

23 May 2018, 09:39 AM AEST

Khan has tipped Babar Azam to be the man to fill his shoes ahead of their two-Test series against England.

Batting prodigy Babar has risen to become one of the world's most prolific white-ball batsman but is yet to translate his short-form returns to the Test arena.

The 23-year-old is the International Cricket Council's top-ranked ranked batter in T20s, while he sits No.5 on the one-day charts having topped the likes of Virat Kohli in becoming the equal-fastest man to 1,000 ODI runs last year.

And although he's yet to break through for his maiden Test century in 12 matches, Younis has backed Babar to fill the sizeable void he left following his retirement in May last year.

"I think Babar will be (the next Younis)," Younis told Omnisport.

"I think he's extremely stylish and he has the potential. 

"If he plays, and he works on his fitness, then I think he will perform a lot for Pakistan."

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With former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq also calling time on a decorated career last year, Pakistan face an uphill task to recapture the form that saw them defeat England twice in the United Kingdom in their 2016 Test tour.

That 2-2 series draw briefly saw them ascend to the top of the Test team rankings, but they've since suffered series defeats in Australia and New Zealand and then to Sri Lanka in their adopted home of the United Arab Emirates. 

Following their win over Ireland earlier this month, Sarfraz Ahmed's side takes on England at Lord's (where Pakistan famously celebrated their 2016 Test win with push-ups in front of the Member's Pavilion) and Headingley before hosting Australia, most likely in the UAE, later on this year.

Younis is confident Pakistan have enough talent to be competitive against two of Test cricket's powerhouses.

"People have a lot of concerns about this (struggling to cope with the pressure) but I think they will be okay," Pakistan's all-time leading Test run-scorer said.

"Babar is growing up and he performs not only in the one-dayers and T20 games, he performs everywhere. 

"I think they will be able to handle these kinds of conditions and I think Pakistan is in a good shape as well, so I think this will be a nice series."

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Speaking to The Express Tribune, Babar said Pakistan's preparation in the UK had largely centred on finding a way to build big totals. 

"The conditions here are really tough. Rains are quite frequent and there is a lot of grass on the wickets which makes it extremely difficult for visiting sides to perform," said Babar.

"We are all really working hard to improve our batting. All our focus is directed towards being better with the bat and that’s what we are working on nowadays. 

"Lord’s is a place of special significance and we will all try our best to perform for Pakistan."