With Pakistan set to challenge Australia in a two-Tests series starting Thursday, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes that Babar Azam could be a threat for the home team as the World Cup-winning skipper feels that Babar is yet to play to potential. “We haven’t seen the best of him yet,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “Twenty-odd Tests for an average of 35 – he’s better than that. He averages 54 in one-day cricket at a strike-rate of about 90. He’s a very, very classy player.

“He’s a really exciting talent and probably the guy I’m looking forward to seeing the most this summer. I’ve seen the Aussies a lot and I’ve seen a lot of the Kiwis, but I’m really excited to see him. He could be anything,” he added.

The 25-year-old Babar played a knock of 157 against Australia A last week and is also ranked as the No 3 batsman in the ICC ODI rankings.

In this year’s World Cup, Ponting saw a “different” Azam as the current Pakistan ODI skipper registered seven fours in just 28 balls against the Australia bowling line-up. “He looked like he was playing a different game. As soon as we over-pitched, he banged it through the covers or banged it down the ground. And when we dropped short, he got onto that pretty quickly as well,” Ponting added.

Earlier, Michael Hussey had also praised Babar and said that the talented batsman can be spoken of in the same breath as stalwarts like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson if he improves his Test record.

“I honestly believe this guy can be in the same conversation when we start talking about the best players in the world,” Hussey was quoted as saying by Fox Sports. “We start talking about (Virat) Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root gets floated around.

“I think if he can start putting together some big hundreds like this in the Test arena, he’s that good … he’s a brilliant, brilliant player,” he added.

Babar also scored two fifties in the three-match T20I series that saw the hosts win the series 2-0 as the first game saw no result thanks to the rain.