CWC 2019 : Who comes out on top in Babar Azam v/s King Kohli battle?

Babar Azam v/s King Kohli battle

Babar Azam v/s King Kohli battle: Pakistan had started slow and after their loss to India, found themselves in a desperate situation with their hopes of staying alive in the World Cup hanging by a thread. Pakistan came back strongly and aided by Australia’s drubbing of England, found themselves in a crunch situation against the Kiwis. 

Babar Azam, Pakistan’s batsman in chief displayed his mastery and won accolades as he lead Pakistan to a fine victory and kept them in the hunt. In the process, the Pakistani star batsman became the second fastest to reach 3000 ODI runs only behind Proteas stalwart Hashim Amla. What stood out was his composure and temperament, absorbing all the pressure and staying till the end to guide his team to a fine win.

With this phenomenal feat, the 24-year-old drew comparisons with his idol Virat Kohli, who has been consistently setting the field on fire. Among the Williamson’s and Root’s and Warner’s and Kohli’s, Babar Azam has created a place in a similar space and created a niche for himself in this era of hard hitting. The Pakistani stalwart has gone on the become one of the finest talents around and while there are no questions on his quality and consistency, his only criticism comes for not being able to accelerate in the second phase of his innings and a rather poor conversion rate, something the World’s best do with rather ease and consistency.

Babar Azam v/s King Kohli battle

Babar Azam’s career in numbers looks phenomenal with the 24-year-old notching up 3072 runs in 68 innings with a healthy average of 52.96, managing 10 100’s and 14 50’s during the course. But one of the other highlighting shortcomings of Babar Azam is his failure to master the art of playing in the middle overs, where he fails to rotate the strike regularly, adding pressure on himself and his teammates, and then falling to an attempted shot in wake of breaking the shackles. This has also led to Babar to not getting big runs and failing to guide Pakistan to as many wins as he would have wanted. 

On the contrary, Kohli has mastered the art of batting in the middle overs and playing deep into the innings with high acceleration in the second phase of his innings. Kolhi, as a result, has bailed India out on several occasions and won them a big number of games. Kohli has accumulated over 11000 runs in ODI cricket, scoring 41 100’s and 52 50’s with an exceptional conversion rate. 

Even former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar is also of the opinion that Kohli’s game is much more polished. “I would like to tell Babar Azam that when you consider Virat Kohli your idol then you should also learn to play like him. Virat has scored runs in very difficult situations. Babar should learn to take singles like Virat, learn to improvise like him,” Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Another crucial point in the debate is the batting positions the two have played at. While Babar Azam has consistently played in the top 4, mostly at 3, Kohli started off his career playing at 5,6 or even 7 with the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin and Ganguly in the team, only to move up the ladder and cement his place at Number 3 in the following years which now sees Babar becoming the second fastest to get to 3000 ODI runs. 

Babar Azam | Babar Azam v/s King Kohli battle

Position Inns NO 100s 50s 0s HS   Runs Avg S/R Ca St
Opening 2 0 0 0 0 22 26 13.00 72.22 1 0
3 52 9 10 9 2 125* 2531 58.86 85.68 24 0
4 13 0 0 4 0 83 453 34.85 86.45 7 0
6 1 1 0 1 0 62* 62   100.00 1 0
Overall 68 10 10 14 2 125* 3072 52.97 85.91 34 0


Virat Kohli | Babar Azam v/s King Kohli battle

Position Inns NO 100s 50s 0s HS   Runs Avg S/R Ca St
Opening 6 0 0 1 0 54 161 26.83 64.66 3 0
3 170 28 34 42 12 183 8987 63.29 94.34 81 0
4 38 7 7 8 0 139* 1751 56.48 90.49 21 0
5 4 0 0 1 0 80 127 31.75 83.01 2 0
6 1 1 0 0 0 23* 23   209.09 0 0
7 4 1 0 0 0 27 38 12.67 131.03 2 0
Overall 223 37 41 52 12 183 11087 59.61 93.14 114 0


Babar has had a good start and needs to work on certain areas of his game to develop into a World beater and he certainly has time for that. Kohli, on the contrary, has come off age in recent years and has been in scintillating form, establishing himself among the best in the World. 

It is only unfair to compare the two at the moment. So the debate seems settled for now! 

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