The promises Pakistan batsman Babar Azam has shown in the early stage of his career earned him an excellent reputation across the cricketing fraternity. The solid footwork, flawless batting aesthetics, tremendous consistency across all formats and his ability to lead from the front – all of these traits have ignited an intense rivalry between him and the Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Making an ODI debut in 2015, the batsman from Lahore shot to prominence a year later, after scoring three consecutive ODI hundred against West Indies in UAE. His consistency in limited-overs cricket won him a place in the Test squad. Since then, there’s been no looking back for the right-handed batsman.
More than Kohli and Azam, it is the viewers from both nations who are highly invested in this debate. Although this time it is a former cricketer from Pakistan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has stirred up the discussion once again claiming Babar’s superiority over the Indian.
“In just a few years he [Babar] has achieved a lot and I know he can do even better than what he has done so far,” Inzamam said to the local channel.
“Kohli has been playing for 10 years while Babar’s been here for three, four years but if you compare the initial days of Babar and Kohli, you’ll see Babar is ahead.”
Since his debut, Babar has evolved into a world-class batsman, and his stats across all three formats testify it. The 25-year-old boasts a batting average of 50+ in both ODI and T20I. His average of 45.12 in Test cricket is slightly low according to his standards. On the contrary, Virat is the only batsman scoring at an average of 50+ across all three formats.
While there’s no doubt about Babar’s virtuosity, any such comparison with the Indian captain seems premature as the former is still in the early days of his career with a lot to achieve.
Pakistan is scheduled to tour England for a three-match test series and as many T-20 matches beginning in August. Babar Azam will be captaining the T-20 squad while Azhar Ali will be leading the Test team.