Babar has necessary skills to reach Kohli’s level, says former Indian cricketer Chopra - GulfToday

Babar has necessary skills to reach Kohli’s level, says former Indian cricketer Chopra

Babar Azam

Babar Azam plays a shot during a Pakistan Super League match in Karachi. File

Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra feels Pakistan’s white-ball skipper Babar Azam has the ability to reach the level of India captain Virat Kohli.

The two modern-day greats are time and again pitted against each other, by fans and critics alike, for their impeccable playing styles and incredible consistency.

Chopra stated that Azam is an incredible talent but it will take time for him to reach that level where Kohli has been operating for a very long time now.

“Babar Azam is an exciting talent. There is no doubt about that. It is also true that Virat Kohli is very far ahead in this race. He is older and started cricket before Azam. Virat’s name is already included in the conversation of all-time greats,” Chopra told former Pakistan cricketer Tanvir Ahmed on the latter’s YouTube channel ‘Tanveer Says’.

“Azam has the necessary skills to reach that level. But the real question is whether he will be able to reach those heights as it depends on many things such as discipline, injuries, form and several other factors which will come along as time moves on.

“Talent can only take you to a place but you ought to have that incredible passion that drives you forward. Virat did not have that from the start but gained it along the way,” he added.

Azam, recently, had addressed such comparisons with Kohli and had said that he would rather like to be compared with some of the top-class batsmen that have donned the jersey of Pakistan in the past.

The 25-year-old Azam averages over 50 in ODI and T20Is and a little over 45 in Tests. Kohli, on the other hand, is the only batsman currently who averages over 50 in all three formats of the game.

Over the past six-seven years, Kohli’s run-scoring consistency has made him one of the front-runners to match Sachin Tendulkar’s towering numbers, especially in ODIs. Kohli already has 70 international centuries - 43 in ODIs and 27 in Tests.

Azam, who, did not have the best of starts to his red-ball career has started taking giant strides in Test cricket the last 12 months or so. He is a part of the 20-member Pakistan squad that tested negative for Covid-19 last month and arrived in England for the three-match Test series against England, where he will be up against the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Jofra Archer.

Notably, Kohli had had terrible outing in England when he toured there for a full test series first time in 2014. The captain, however, turned it around by becoming highest scorer in the 2018.


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