Former Pakistani batsman Ramiz Raja feels the comparisons of Babar Azam with Virat Kohli are not justified as the latter is a proven match-winner. Pakistan’s limited-overs skipper Babar Azam has been often compared to Indian skipper Virat Kohli. He is the only batsman who is among the top five batsmen in ICC rankings in all three formats and has been Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in tests for the years 2018 and 2019 and also in ODIsfor the years 2016, 2017 and 2019.
Ramiz Raja still feels comparing Babar Azam to Virat Kohli is not justified as he still needs to develop the match-winning prowess in him which the latter suffices. Babar has featured in 29 Tests, 74 ODIs and 38 T20Is for Pakistan where he averages 45.44, 54.18 and 50.72, respectively, which is quite a spectacular record.
Ramiz Raza on Babar Azam
Cricketer turned commentator Ramiz Raja believes Babar Azam should learn from Virat Kohli and be a match-winner for his team now. He feels Babar who is only 25 will learn with time and get better, giving an example of Inzamam-ul-Haq who ended his career at high despite having a slow start.
“This Pakistan batting line-up needs him to score massively. What he has to do is become a match-winner now. He needs to learn that from Kohli. And he’s got the potential. He’s only 25. I feel that with time, he’ll get better,” Raja told Times of India.
“In 1992, when we toured England, Inzamam-ul-Haq didn’t get any (big) score at all, and look at where his career ended, so it’s not that this is the end of Babar, that he was tested against the moving ball and didn’t deliver properly. Next time when he goes to England, it will be a bit like Kohli – he will be more at home playing swing and seam.”
“The comparison with Virat is not justified. Virat is a match-winner”: Ramiz Raja
Raja believes there is still a long way for Babar to go to be compared with Virat Kohli who has proved himself as a match-winner for India. Babar Azam has only made a handful of appearances in test cricket and he needs to be encouraged to be consistent and score big whenever his team needs him.
“The comparison with Virat is not justified. Virat is a match-winner. Babar has played only a handful of Tests. He’s finding his way through the international circuit. However, it must be great for him to be compared to Kohli. I don’t think that it brings pressure on him,” Raja said.
“He should be encouraged, enthused to be like Kohli. To be compared to Virat is a compliment, not a pressure situation. I don’t think that when he goes out to bat, he thinks about that comparison. What he looks at is the ball, to adapt to the conditions, and what the team demands,”Ramiz Raja concluded.
Babar Azam scored an unbeaten 63 runs in the last test match against England which ended up in a draw. The series was won by England 1-0 after the last two matches were drawn amidst the rain. Azam ended up as the fourth-highest run-scorer in the latest test series.