"I would say Babar Azam has an opportunity. He's been consistent in all three formats and it shows in his rankings. He's a naturally gifted player, plays in all conditions, he's got the game to adapt as well," Jayawardene said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
He also added that the rankings may ultimately come down to who plays the most amount of cricket going forward. "It depends on the amount of cricket, who's playing when and how much but the Babar might be the guy." He went on to say that though Babar is a front-runner here, there are a lot of quality players around who'll keep pushing him.
"T20Is and ODIs, it is a tough one to hold on to because there are a lot of good players who have to be consistent. I would put my money on him at least for a little while to hold to all three but there are some good quality players around who will keep pushing him."
Mahela also talked about what he likes the most about the two players.
"I think it is just the technique, the time that he has and the composure that he has out there in the middle. He's not rattled at any time, whether he plays T20Is, ODIs or Tests, he adjusts quite brilliantly. Joe in Test cricket is the same. He knows what he needs to do, he can the tempo when he wants to, and bats to what the conditions offer. Babar has that same quality, so that's why he's been so consistent in all three formats."
Babar and Root are set to face each other in December this year when Pakistan will take on England in a three-match Test series.