Asia Cup 2022: It is still too early to compare Babar Azam with one of the all-time greats Virat Kohli, says Wasim Akram

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Asia Cup 2022: It is still too early to compare Babar Azam with one of the all-time greats Virat Kohli, says Wasim Akram
Asia Cup 2022: It is still too early to compare Babar Azam with one of the all-time greats Virat Kohli, says Wasim Akram

Asia Cup 2022: It is still too early to compare Babar Azam with one of the all-time greats Virat Kohli, says Wasim Akram

Asia Cup 2022: Pakistan legend Wasim Akram believes that even if Virat Kohli has battled for runs over the past two years, he is still one of the all-time greats and that comparing him to Babar Azam is still a little early.

When India plays Pakistan in the opening match of the Asia Cup on Sunday in Dubai, all eyes will be on Virat Kohli. After taking a break for the West Indies away series, Kohli will enter the game with a clear head.

While Kohli has been struggling for a while—without a century since November 2019—Babar appears to be in the prime of his career and excelling in all formats.

“First of all let me start by saying that criticism from Indian fans against Kohli has been unnecessary. He is one of the greatest of all times not just this era. And he still fit as a fiddle. He is still one of the best fielders in the Indian squad.

“As they say class is forever and that is Virat Kohli. Hope he doesn’t come back to form against Pakistan but he will come back eventually,” said Akram in a press conference organised by Star Sports, the official broadcaster for Asia Cup.

Asia Cup 2022: Too early to compare Babar Azam with Virat Kohli, says Wasim Akram
Asia Cup 2022: Too early to compare Babar Azam with Virat Kohli, says Wasim Akram

The former Pakistani captain claimed it is still a little early to compare Babar to Kohli.

“The comparisons are only natural. When we played people used to compare Inzamam, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. Before that it was Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, G Vishwanath and Zaheer Abbas.

“Babar has been very consistent, because he has got the right technique. He is very hungry and very fit. He is still a young captain but is learning very fast. However, comparisons with Virat it is too early.

“Babar is on the right track to be where Virat Kohli is but to compare him with him at this stage is too early. But he is absolutely on the right track to be one of the modern greats,” said Akram in a call with long-time rival and friend Ravi Shastri.

‘Shaheen’s absence big setback for Pakistan’

Shaheen Afridi has been ruled out of the Asia Cup owing to a knee injury. Last year, he rocked India’s top order during the T20 World Cup to set up a 10-wicket triumph.

Akram ranked him among the top three bowlers in the world and claimed that Shaheen’s absence has a significant impact for Pakistan.

“Shaheen Afridi will be missed a lot. He is important because of the new ball. In this format if you have to restrict the opposition by taking early wickets and that is what the does. He attacks the stumps in all formats.

“There was criticism when he did not take a break but he is only 22. He has got a knee injury which takes time to heal and you always fear that it might come back. He is one the world’s top three bowlers so a big setback for Pakistan.

“There is still pace in the bowling department but there is no variation (in the absence of Shaheen’s left arm pace). They all are right handers,” Akram rued.

He is eager to watch Suryakumar Yadav, one of the Indian players, in action.

“I saw him first when I was with KKR. He played couple of shots (the pick-up shot off middle stump), that is a very unusual shot to master. Since he made into Indian squad he has been a treat to watch. He is actually a 360 degree player,” he said.

The Pakistani legend added that the difference between teams would be significantly smaller than in previous Asia Cups, making it the most competitive tournament ever.

“It will be the best Asia Cup ever in my opinion. Earlier there used to be India Pakistan and Sri Lanka. But now all teams are dangerous including Afghanistan and Bangladesh,” added Akram.