PSL 2023: Babar Azam gives Twitter all the feels

A young ball picker cheers after being applauded by Babar Azam during the first eliminator of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on March 16. — PSL

During the first eliminator of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) between Peshawar Zalmi And on Thursday, Islamabad United, Zalmi captain Babar Azam applauded a picker who caught the ball after Alex Hales edged it out of bounds.

As can be seen in a short video clip that went viral on Twitter, Babar came close to the boundary after the ball hit that side. By the time Babar reached there, a young ball picker had caught the ball. BaburDespite the heat of the match, the youngster took a minute to admire before returning to the pitch.

The ball picker can be seen beaming with joy as he departs after receiving a warm welcome from the national team captain.

The moving scene was well appreciated by social media users who appreciated it. Babur’s pointed out as a true mentor, while one user called it “PSL 8’s best moment”.

However, Twitterati were quick to point out that the scene looked more appealing than when Babar himself began his cricketing journey as a ball picker during South Africa’s tour of Pakistan in 2007.

For many tweeps, that scene was like coming full circle.

One user commented: “Best moment of PSL 8. Babar Azam claps for the picker boy who takes a brilliant catch outside the boundary. 10 years ago when South Africa toured Pakistan, Babar was the picker. Tell me a better story and a story of encouragement.

Another tweeted: “When Babar Azam clapped and saw the joy on the young boy’s face. Whenever I see Babar near these pickers, I remember his childhood when he was a picker himself. Do you remember your childhood when you see them?

Speaking to PCB Media in 2021, Babar recounted the start of his career and said: “My cricket journey started back in 2007. I was passionate about the game but I really wanted to see the international stars in front of me. I wanted to watch the game. At that time, the South African team was here so I asked someone to help me pick the ball. I used to go to Gaddafi Stadium from Gulbarg every day.

He added: “I used to enjoy picking up balls. I remember watching Inzamam-ul-Haq’s farewell innings where he got out before breaking Azim Javed Miandad’s record. I watched him live as he went back to the dressing room and vented his anger. It has been a long and arduous journey but I feel fortunate to have made my Test captaincy debut against this team.

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