Cricket: Pakistan's Babar Azam dethrones India's Virat Kohli in ICC one-day international batting rankings

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has ended India counterpart Virat Kohli's reign of more than three years as cricket's top-ranked one-day international batsman.

Babar's elegant strokemaking has often drawn comparisons with the prolific Kohli, who is considered a modern batting great across all formats.

Last week, Babar led from the front in Pakistan's 2-1 ODI series victory in South Africa and snapped Kohli's 1258-day stay atop the official rankings, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed.

The 26-year-old is the third Pakistan batsman to achieve the honour, following in the footsteps of Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf.

Babar and Kohli are currently the only two batsmen in the top six in all three formats.

"This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time," Babar says.

"I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the test rankings."

Azam has celebrated his milestone by hitting a record-breaking 122 to lead Pakistan to an impressive nine-wicket victory in the third Twenty20 international against hosts South Africa. 

Babar's century came off 49 balls, including 15 fours and four sixes, in a record 197-run partnership with Mohammad Rizwan (73) to reel in the Proteas' competitive 203/5 with consummate ease.

Pakistan lead the four-match series 2-1.