‘He’s the top batsman in the world across formats’ – Virat Kohli extols Babar Azam ahead of Asia Cup

'He's the top batsman in the world across formats' - Virat Kohli extols Babar Azam ahead of Asia Cup
Virat Kohli and Babar Azam
Virat Kohli and Babar Azam. (Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The entire cricketing fraternity is eagerly waiting for India and Pakistan to ignite arguably the greatest rivalry in cricketing history as they lock horns on September 02 in Kandy during Asia Cup 2023. The build-up to the high-voltage clash is on among the fans as comparisons and analysis of both teams have already begun. The favourite comparison among the fans from both nations is between the star batters Virat Kohli and Babar Azam.

Despite the cut-throat comparisons between the two batters, the duo has mutual admiration for each other which they’ve accepted publicly time and again. Recently, Virat Kohli gave details of his first meeting with Babar during the 2019 World Cup fixture between India and Pakistan.

“The first interaction I had with him [Babar] 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,” said Kohli on Star Sports.

Further speaking ahead, the batting maverick stated that the Pakistan star has a lot of respect for him from day one and called him the top batter across formats.

“I saw a lot of regard and respect from him from day one, and that hasn’t changed. 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,” he added.

Notably, Kohli and Babar are often compared with each other being the best batters from their respective teams. With Kohli going through a rough patch between 2020 and 2022, Babar has left him behind in the batting rankings in all three formats of the game. The Pakistan skipper became the number one ODI batter in 2021 dethroning Kohli from the top spot.

He further ruled the T20I batters rankings for 1155 days breaking the record held by Kohli (1013 days) in June 2022. For his incredible run over the past two years, the 28-year-old was bestowed with the prestigious ‘ODI Cricketer of the Year’ and ‘Cricketer of the Year’ awards by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2022.

Virat Kohli all-ready to take on Pakistan

Meanwhile, Kohli has also found his mojo back after ending his century drought of over 1000 days during Asia Cup 2022. Following that, the former India skipper played the innings of his life scoring 82* (53) against Pakistan and helped India register an improbable win during the T20 World Cup 2022 game. Since then, Kohli has ended his century drought in all three formats and is ready to once again take on his favourite opposition in the Asia Cup and World Cup.

The competition between Babar and Kohli will be once again on as India and Pakistan lock horns for multiple games over the next three months.

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