The first lesson Babar Azam learned from his coach was to play the first and last ball of a match, and he showed he had not forgotten that advice during his brilliant hundred against New Zealand.
Babar’s 10th one-day international century at Edgbaston on Wednesday -- his eighth in a winning cause -- has led to comparisons with Indian maestro Virat Kohli.
Pakistan’s batting coach Grant Flower certainly believes Babar has the X-factor.
“He is very special,” said Flower, after Babar’s unbeaten hundred helped Pakistan chase down a 238-run target for their third win at the World Cup.
“I believe he is going to be one of the best that Pakistan have ever produced. He’s really hungry, is fit and still very young at 24.”
Kohli currently has a far better record than his Pakistani counterpart, with 41 ODI centuries, and an impressive average of nearly 60 compared with Babar’s mark of almost 53.
But Babar’s stupendous start to his international career suggests he has the ability to match the Indian superstar.
Babar reached the milestones of 1,000, 2,000 and 3,000 ODI runs faster than Kohli.
The world’s top-ranked Twenty20 batsman scored five hundreds in his first 25 ODIs, compared to Kohli’s two.
On Wednesday, Babar became the second-fastest to reach 3,000 ODI runs, in 68 innings, behind South Africa’s Hashim Amla, who reached the mark in 57.
Babar said the link with Kohli was flattering.
“I watch his batting videos,” said Babar. “He is very consistent and his mindset is very good. He gives 100 percent every time he walks out to bat.
“My aim is to be the best in the world and perform in each of Pakistan’s wins.”
Babar has started his career with a bang. He has the talent to take him right to the pinnacle of the game.