Pakistan’s Babar Azam celebrates his century during the fourth One Day International (ODI) cricket match between England and Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on May 17, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECBLAHORE: World number one Twenty20 batsman Babar Azam said on Monday that he was praying the coronavirus pandemic would not scupper his first T20 World Cup as skipper. Australia are due to host the seventh Twenty20 World Cup in October and November but organisers face challenges of providing appropriate bio-security and quarantine measures for 15 international teams. Lingering travel restrictions could also hit the event, where 45 matches are scheduled to be played in seven cities.“It will be my first World Cup as skipper so I am praying for it and keeping fingers crossed,” Azam said in a virtual press conference. The International Cricket Council (ICC) will discuss the event at its board meeting in Dubai next week. Azam said he would not mind if cricket was played in closed stadiums, without fans.“It would be tough to play without fans because they cheer along and back you up, but who knows better than [us] how to play without crowds,” said Azam. Pakistan was forced to play before sparse or no crowds in the United Arab Emirates in the aftermath of the 2009 attack against a visiting Sri Lanka team in Lahore.International cricket returned gradually from 2015 but it was only last year that the country managed to stage a Test at home after a gap of ten years. The one-day international captain also vowed to improve Pakistan’s rankings.“We are now fourth in Twenty20, sixth in ODIs and seventh in Tests which is not acceptable and I want to see improvements in that,” Azam said.Pakistan topped the Twenty20 rankings from January 2018 to until last week.Azam said he was keeping his ‘fingers crossed’ that this year’s Twenty20 World Cup would go ahead in AustraliaMeanwhile, batting great Younis Khan has said that a fair comparison between star batsman Babar Azam and India skipper Virat Kohli could only be possible in five years’ time after the former is at the peak of his career, according to Gulf News.Younis reasoned that Kohli’s career numbers are far intimidating as he is an established superstar and has experience across all formats, not to mention the fact that he has already “proved himself”.“You see, Kohli – who is now 31 and at the peak of his career – has been in international cricket for over a decade now and has proved himself in all conditions. The 70 international centuries that he has scored is a testimony to his class and abilities,” the former Pakistan captain said.Younis said that Azam has only just begun to show his potential and will need more time to reach his peak.“Babar Azam made his international debut barely five years back. He already has 16 centuries under his belt and shows very good averages in both Tests and ODIs,” Younis said.He further said that a comparison of the two would be premature but could be possible five years from now.“It will be unfair to start comparing the two right now. If you have to, compare Azam five years,” he said.