Islamabad: A change in mindset and a hunger to improve helped him establish himself in the top five batsmen across formats, Pakistan's Babar Azam has said.
Azam, ranked No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings for batsmen, No.3 in ODIs and No.5 in Tests is considered among the best batsmen of his generation. However, while he might have found easy satisfaction in his success before, the 25-year-old is now determined to keep improving.
"I used to become complacent easily if I performed well," Azam said in a chat with ESPNcricinfo. "I used to have a negative thought process and that's the area I realised I had to cover ... Now, a good performance doesn't make me happy, instead, I push myself to go further and try to expand my game.
"I have stopped thinking that my work is done if I perform, even if the team loses the game," he went on. "I don't want to prove anything to anyone, what I am doing, how I am playing and how big my role is.
"It's easy to perform, go back, and be happy. But now I have told myself that whatever I do is for the team, and that is more relevant and important. My work isn't done if I score runs."
Babar was enjoying a strong run at the PSL before the pandemic struck. Now, staying put at home, he is doing his best to keep practising and staying fit.
However, he admitted it isn't easy. "As a batsman, you don't have that satisfaction until you have a bat in your hand and you are middling the ball," he said. "I am just staying positive, getting the pleasure of batting with tennis-ball cricket with my brothers in the garage.
"If the break goes on, it can make me rusty, but I can't forget your basics. You must believe in yourself ... It might take some time to regain the rhythm, but the base is there and, god willing, I will be the same Babar Azam you saw a few weeks ago."