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‘I stay in touch with him’- Tom Banton reveals how Azhar Ali helped him improve his batting

Banton played with two Pakistani cricketers in Azhar Ali and Babar Azam at Somerset and the right-hander has revealed that the former has “helped me a lot in my game”.

Tom Banton and Azhar Ali
Tom Banton and Azhar Ali. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

England’s latest white-ball sensation Tom Banton has had a whirlwind twelve months where he has seen his stock soar to the hilt. Banton shot into the reckoning when he emerged as the second-highest run-scorer- 549 runs in 13 games at an average of 42.23- in the 2019 edition of the T20 Blast for Somerset.

Ever since his exploits for Somerset in the T20 Blast, Banton not only earned a national call-up for the T20I series against New Zealand, but he has also been the flavour of T20 leagues around the world. Banton, who recently featured for Brisbane Heat in the BBL, is currently in Pakistan where he’ll turn out for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL.

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Banton played with two Pakistani cricketers in Azhar Ali and Babar Azam at Somerset and the right-hander has revealed that the former has “helped me a lot in my game”.

Banton hailed Pakistan Test captain as a  “good friend” and “someone I stay in touch with on a regular basis”. The English International also heaped praise on Babat Azam, revealing that they stay in touch on a regular basis.

“I must also mention another brilliant Pakistan player that I had the pleasure to play with at Somerset, Azhar Ali, who is also a good friend of mine now and someone I stay in touch with on a regular basis,” Banton told Sky Sports.

He added: “Like Babar, he has helped me a lot in my game and also been great for the club and everyone there. Despite being such an experienced international cricketer, he was always ready to help out and would throw balls at anyone for hours if needed.”

Tom Banton reveals Babar Azam as his ideal batting partner

Banton hailed Azam as “very calm and a relaxed individual” and added that he  “would tell me to calm down when I got over-eager in my stroke-play”.

“Babar is a very calm and relaxed individual. He was the ideal batting partner for me as sometimes he would tell me to calm down when I got over-eager in my stroke-play,” Banton told Sky Sports.

“He does play differently to me and plays correct shots whereas my style is more about swinging as hard as I can. But what I did learn from him was his ability to be so relaxed when he is at the crease.

His style of play taught me that a few dot balls don’t mean anything because you can catch up quickly so there is no reason to be stressed,” he added.

Azam and Banton are featuring dor different franchises in the PSL. While Azam is spearheading Karachi Kings, Banton is featuring for Peshawar Zalmi.

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