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Babar having a Blast

Babar Azam has taken the 2019 Vitality Blast by storm.

The Pakistan batsman has scored 434 runs at an average of 62 with a strike rate of 152.82.

We sat down with him at the Cooper Associates County Ground earlier this week to discuss his 2019.

How would you describe you year so far?

“Definitely so far, so good! I’ve spent quite a bit of time in England with Pakistan and now Somerset. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and have become accustomed to the conditions now. I was really pleased with how my World Cup went, and that has given me a lot of confidence moving forward.

“It was my first World Cup and although it was a big challenge, it was something I really enjoyed. The atmosphere at all the Pakistan games was amazing and so many people turned up to cheer us on. We were all very grateful to the fans for their support.”

What is it like playing for Somerset?

“I quickly found out about the fantastic history of Somerset and was very happy to come and play here. There are lovely people supporting us here in Taunton and everyone has been very welcoming to me, which I would like to thank everybody for. The support staff and coaches have also helped me a lot in my time so far. I will try my very best to perform in every match for the people of Somerset and so far I’m pleased with my performances.”

Tell us about your cricketing journey.

“I didn’t start playing cricket until I was about 12 years old, where I began my career at Club level. Although I started quite late, I fell in love with the game and played a lot in the streets before my parents helped me find a club.

“I went from U15 level through to U23 level before playing for Pakistan A. I was very happy that after one further year, I was called into the Pakistan team. Making my ODI debut in my home town of Lahore was a special feeling. I felt very honoured to make my debut there against Zimbabwe and was really happy to get a half-century.”

How do you see your game in red-ball cricket?

“I definitely feel like there is more to come from me in First Class and Test cricket. I have done okay in the white-ball game recently, but I really want to prove myself in Test cricket, so I will be doing my best to achieve my goals in this format.

“I’m really looking forward to playing a Specsavers County Championship match for Somerset at Edgbaston. Hopefully I can score a few runs and help Somerset win the match. I know the Club are close to winning that first title, so fingers crossed I can play a small part in this.”

What are your career goals?

“I really want to aim as high as I can throughout the rest of my career, and perform to the best of my ability for Pakistan over a long period of time. I love playing cricket. I want to enjoy my career and play with a smile on my face.”

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