Shoaib Akhtar has given his view on the comparison between India captain Virat Kohli and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, saying that despite all the comparisons that are being drawn between the two players, the debate surrounding the two is wrong.
Virat Kohli, with 70 international centuries, is one of the world’s leading batsmen, and Babar Azam has been steadily climbing up the ladder. Babar Azam is definitely one of the most promising batsmen of this generation and could be counted as a part of the Fab Five, along with Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and Steve Smith. However, Shoaib Akhtar reckons the gap between the two batsmen is way too much.
Shoaib Akhtar Reckons Virat Kohli Will Reach 120 Or At Least 110 Centuries In The Next 5 Years
In fact, Shoaib Akhtar has predicted Virat Kohli to peel off 30 more centuries in the coming five years and backed the India captain to take his tally of international tons to at least 110 – 10 more than the current record-holder Sachin Tendulkar with 100 international hundreds.
“Virat has what… 70 centuries in international cricket right. So in the next five years, he will get 30 more and I want him to get 120 centuries, or at least 110. See, with these many runs, who can be compared to him? The debate in itself is wrong. And Babar is now coming through. It’s really good that there is healthy competition,” Akhtar told Sports Tak in an interview.
Sachin Tendulkar garnered 51 centuries in Tests and 49 in ODIs while Kohli has registered 27 Test and 43 ODI centuries. If Virat Kohli constantly plays for 5 or more years, he would surely stand with or surpass Sachin’s mammoth record. So far, Virat Kohli has represented his side in 92 Tests, 254 ODIs, and 90 T20Is, scoring 7547, 12169, and 3159 runs respectively.
He is the only player to average above 50 across all the formats. But the batsman is yet to score a ton in any format since his 136 against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in November 2019. His century drought continued but he will look to make amends in the upcoming 5 Tests against hosts England.
Shoaib Akhtar: If Babar Azam Wants To Surpass Virat Kohli, He Will Have To Score More Runs Chasing
Babar Azam is seven years younger than Virat Kohli and started his international career in 2015. Shoaib Akhtar feels that in order to catch up to Virat Kohli’s stupendous record, the Pakistan captain will need to go on a rampage in the next few years. In the process, Shoaib Akhtar feels Babar Azam may become the greatest Pakistan batsman of all time, but whether he can better Virat Kohli is something that can only be decided in another 10 years’ time.
“If Babar needs to beat Virat and surpass him, he will have to score more runs chasing and play the kind of innings Kohli has. There is no doubt that Babar Azam can probably be the greatest batsman of Pakistan, but it will take time. We will judge Kohli and Babar after 10 years where they stand,” Shoaib Akhtar added.
Babar Azam is now the most consistent batsman for Pakistan in every format of international cricket. While he has played 33 Tests, 83 ODIs, and 57 T20Is where the right-handed batsman has scored 2169 runs (average 42.52), 3985 runs (average 56.92), and 2153 runs (average 46.8) respectively.
While Babar Azam has around 10,000 runs in all 3 formats combined, Virat Kohli is more experienced having amassed almost 20,000 runs in ODIs and Tests combined. He is the only batsman to score more than 3000 runs in T20Is ahead of Martin Guptill, Rohit Sharma, Aaron Finch, and Mohammed Hafeez to name a few.