India’s stalwart batter Virat Kohli heaped praise on Pakistan skipper Babar Azam calling him probably the top batter across formats in the entire world.
Indian and Pakistani players don’t get to play against each other too often but there still remains mutual respect among cricketers from both countries. Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, two of the greatest batters of their generation, haven’t faced each other on many occasions but both know that the quality they bring to their respective teams. In a recent interaction, Kohli opened up his rapport with Babar, calling the Pakistani batter probably the top batter across formats in the entire world. Kohli and Babar have been setting new batting standards in the world of cricket.
While they compete on the field against each other, off the field Virat admitted that he has always held a lot of regard as well as respect for the top ODI batter. While speaking to Star Sports as quoted by ESPNcricinfo, Kohli spoke about his relationship with Babar.
“The first interaction I had with him (Babar Azam) was during the 2019 (ODI) World Cup after the game in Manchester. I’ve known Imad (Wasim) since the Under-19 World Cup, and he said Babar wanted to have a chat. We sat down and spoke about the game. I saw a lot of regard and respect from him from day one, and that hasn’t changed,” Kohli said.
“Regardless of the fact he’s probably the top batsman in the world across formats, and rightly so. Performs so consistently and I’ve always enjoyed watching him play,” Kohli added.
The rivalry between both batters has always managed to be the centre of attraction in the action-packed encounter between India and Pakistan for the past five years.
When Kohli’s struggle began with the bat, Babar entered his prime and surpassed Kohli in the ODI rankings to become the top ODI batter.
The 28-year-old Pakistan captain has played in 104 T20Is, 100 ODIs, and 49 Tests. He is a star in each of all three forms. He currently has 12346 runs, including 30 centuries, to his name at the top level.
As far as his performance is considered in the ODIs, every time Babar Azam comes onto the pitch, there are expectations of him due to the high standards he has set in the format. He is the top-ranked ODI batsman, which makes it more obvious. Babar has barely ever been out of form in the 50-over format, scoring more than 5000 runs at an average of nearly 60.
On the other hand, with 8,676 runs in 111 Tests with 29 centuries and 29 fifties each, 12,898 runs in 275 ODIs with 46 centuries and 65 fifties and 4,008 runs in 115 T20Is with one century and 37 fifties, Kohli is one of the most successful batters of all time.
Currently sitting at 25,000 international runs and 76 centuries, fans keep a count of each run and century he scores, in anticipation of him breaking legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 34,357 international runs and 100 centuries.
Both batters will once again step on the field to face each other in the upcoming Asia Cup clash on September 2.