Babar Azam greets New Zealand players after a match. File
While Pakistans limited-overs skipper Babar Azam has played down comparisons with Virat Kohli and said that they are two different individuals, Pakistan head coach and selector Misbah-ul-Haq feels that Babar is very much close to being in the same league as Kohli or Australia star Steve Smith.
“I don’t like comparisons but Babar is currently very close to being in the same class as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith or Joe Root,” Misbah said on Youtube channel Cricket Baaz.
“He believes in the work ethic that if you want to better Kohli you have to work harder than him at your skills, fitness and game awareness.”
The head coach further added that the best part about the 25-year-old is that he just doesn’t wish to be a part of the team, he wants to be the best.
“He is in a zone of his own. He just doesn’t want to be in the team. He just doesn’t want to play for money. He wants to be the top performer for Pakistan. He is always pitting himself against other top batsmen like Kohli or Smith,” he said.
Misbah said that the T20I captaincy that was given to Babar was test his skills and the fact that he led by example saw him being handed the job in ODIs as well.
“Making him the T20 captain was a tester. We wanted to see how he will respond to this challenge. All of us agree that he has done a very good job and his biggest plus is that being among the worlds top players he leads by example,” the former skipper said.
“If you are a performer like Babar then it becomes easier for you to motivate the rest of the team and get things done. Even when I was made captain in 2010 my performances were here and there and I was in and out. But captaincy changed my game and mindset and I became a more hard working and motivated cricketer.”
Meanwhile, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar and wicket-keeper Rashid Latif have torn into Babar saying that if he wants to lead like Imran Khan, then he should also develop his personality to match the current Prime Minister of the country.
“Babar Azam wants to be a captain like Imran Khan but this does not mean that it will only be related to playing cricket. He needs to take a leaf out of PM Imran’s book with regards to personality as well,” Akhtar said in a YouTube show WAJI’s Sports.
Indo-Asian News Service
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"Virat Kohli is a good player and he has performed well against Pakistan. I have nothing against him but if Indians don't compare their players with Pakistan, then we shouldn't do that as well," he added.
"Pakistan captain Azam has ended Kohli's long reign at the top of the ICC Men's ODI player rankings," the ICC said in a statement. The 26-year-old becomes the fourth Pakistani batsmen to get the top spot in ODIs and the first since Mohammad Yousuf in 2003.
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