Pakistan’s Babar Azam has been one of the hottest properties in world cricket over the past couple of years. A promising talent, Azam has developed into his team’s premier batsman across all formats.
He is in fact the only batsman in the world currently who ranks in the top five of the ICC men’s rankings across all formats, leading the rankings in T20Is.
While he has performed in different conditions too, his consistency in one-day internationals has led to comparisons with the best batsman in the format, Indian captain Virat Kohli.
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Kohli has been a run machine in ODIs and holder of several records. Azam is several years junior to Kohli but the youngster, who was recently named Pakistan’s limited overs skipper, has made a very good start to his career.
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He currently has 3359 runs from 74 ODIs and is placed third in the list of batsmen fastest to 3000 ODI runs. While Kohli is light years ahead of him, comparisons have been rife with several former Pakistani cricketers going to the extent of saying that Babar looks better than Kohli on current form.
Adding to this debate former Pakistan captain and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has said that Azam’s development into a star performer has happened due to the faith shown in him by the team management.
“Babar struggled initially in Test cricket but we never had any doubt about his ability so we persisted with him and see today where he is standing in all formats,” Inzamam told a TV channel.
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He also described Babar and pacer, Shaheen Shah Afridi as future stars.
Inzamam further said that Kohli has played a lot more cricket than Azam but the Pakistani talisman’s record at this stage is not bad at all.
“Babar is always compared to Virat Kohli but the latter has played a lot more cricket and if you look at their stats and performances at the stage Babar is now, he has not done badly at all,” Inzamam said.
Whether Babar Azam scales the heights that Kohli has already scaled is something that time will tell, but the Pakistanis surely hope he will be their star for many years to come.