What’s the story?
Pakistan batsman Babar Azam has opened up on the comparisons between himself and star Indian batsman Virat Kohli. In sharp contrast to the beliefs of Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur and team-mate Umar Akmal, the 22-year old preferred to dead bat a journalist’s inquisitive question outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
When asked about any similarities between himself and the Indian skipper, Babar felt, “I am different and Kohli is different. My focus is on delivering for Pakistan and that’s my main objective. The team’s atmosphere was and still is very good. Meanwhile, as a team, our focus is to improve our rankings in the ODI format where we are number eight.”
A few months back, Arthur had lavished praise on Babar’s skills and declared that the right-hander was as effective as Kohli at the same age.
More recently, Umar diverted comparisons between himself and Kohli by insisting that their batting positions were different. He, in fact, deflected the attention to his cousin, Babar Azam by reiterating that it should be he who gets compared to Kohli as they bat in the same position.
The heart of the matter
During the third ODI against Australia in Perth earlier this year, Babar became the joint-fastest batsman in the history of ODIs to reach the 1000-run mark. By accomplishing the milestone in just 21 matches, he joined the ranks of Caribbean legend Sir Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Quinton de Kock. In comparison, Kohli took 24 games to attain the landmark.
However, Babar’s Test career has not gotten off to a good start with 300 runs coming from his first 6 matches at an average of 27.27. Interestingly, Kohli’s numbers from his first 6 Tests were not any good either – 234 runs at an average of 21.27. Since then, the Delhi batsman has developed leaps and bounds to become one of the top batsmen across all formats of the game.
With scores of 0,13,12 and 15 thus far in the home series against Australia, Kohli will be eager to return to his best in the vital third Test in Ranchi. On the other hand, Babar’s next assignment will the tour of the Caribbean which is slated to begin later this month.
Comparisons between batsmen who are at different stages of their careers do not make much sense. As with every other promising batsman, Babar should look to carve out his own identity. However, Kohli’s remarkable work ethic is certainly the benchmark for the Lahore-born cricketer to try and emulate.