Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli is widely recognised as the best currently active batsman across formats and although his overall performance in Test cricket hasn’t impressed everyone, there is hardly any other batsman who does as well as him in limited overs cricket. Star Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, who often gets compared to the Indian stalwart for his batting prowess and consistency, was recently likened to Kohli by none other than his coach Micky Arthur.
In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Azam revealed that he tried to emulate former South African skipper AB de Villiers during the early years of his cricket career, admitting that he even tried to copy some of the shots he played. (READ: Graeme Smith picks Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma as key for India during South Africa tour)
“I loved watching AB de Villiers in the early days. I used to follow him closely. I copied him a lot too. In the nets, I used to at least try some of the shots he played in the matches. Nowadays I follow Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla, and of course, de Villiers,” said Azam.
The 23-year-old was then asked about his views on coach Mickey Arthur’s comparison of him with a young Virat Kohli, to which he said: “He compared me with a very big player. I think it shouldn’t be done. But that is the coach’s thinking. Maybe the stats at the start of our careers are similar, but he is the No. 1 batsman in the world. I want to perform at a high level for Pakistan too.”
The talented Pakistani batsman has often been compared with Kohli and but has always been against such comparisons. “I am different and Kohli is different. My focus is on delivering for Pakistan and that’s my main objective. The team’s atmosphere was and still is very good. Meanwhile, as a team, our focus is to improve our rankings in the ODI format where we are number eight,” he had said earlier this year.