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Why is Babar Azam being compared to Kohli?

August 13, 2020 08:33 IST

Babar Azam

IMAGE: Pakistan's Babar Azam bats during the first Test against England in Manchester. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
 

Pakistan's Babar Azam has been on a splendid scoring run in international cricket in the last couple of years.

Such has been his impact that former England captain Nasser Hussain placed the young Azam in the same league as Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.

'If this lad was Virat Kohli, everyone would be talking about it, but because it is Babar Azam, no one is talking about it,' Naz said when commenting during the first Test between England and Pakistan in Manchester.

'They keep going on about the Fab Four (but) it's the Fab Five and Babar Azam is in that,' Naz added.

Azam, whose cover drives have some similarities with Kohli, has enjoyed a conistent run in Tests since 2018 matching the likes of Kohli, Australia's run machine Steve Smith, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and England's Joe Root.

Among the 'Fab Five', Root has the highest tally of runs with 2,225, but his average is only 39.

Kohli has hit seven centuries and as many fifties for 1,972 runs in 23 games.

Azam averages an impressive 63 for 1,449 runs in 16 games.

Rajneesh Gupta compares the 'Fab Five' in Tests since the start of 2018:

 TestsInningsNot OutRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100s50s
Joe Root 31 58 2 2225 226 39.73 51.09 4 14
Virat Kohli 23 39 2 1972 254* 53.29 56.42 7 7
Babar Azam 16 28 5 1449 143 63.00 62.94 5 10
Kane Williamson 17 27 3 1262 200* 52.58 56.79 4 6
Steve Smith 13 21 0 1253 211 59.66 52.98 3 7

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates scoring a century during the third ODI against the West Indies in Port of Spain, August 14, 2019. Photograph: Ashley Allen/Getty Images

In One-Day Internationals too, Azam has made a mark, but there is no matching Kohli who has come closest to matching the achievements of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar in 50-overs cricket.

Kohli averages a massive average of 74 in ODIs since 2018 with 11 centuries and 13 fifties for a tally of 2,837 run in 46 games.

The next best is Joe Root with 1,922 runs from 49 games.

In ODIs

 ODIsInningsNot OutRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100s50s
Virat Kohli 46 45 7 2837 160* 74.65 98.43 11 13
Joe Root 49 46 10 1922 113* 53.38 88.16 6 9
Babar Azam 38 37 5 1601 115 50.03 88.45 4 8
Kane Williamson 33 32 4 1457 148 52.03 75.45 4 7
Steve Smith 22 21 0 833 131 39.66 85.26 1 6

In T20 Internationals, Azam leads the way with 1,003 runs in 24 games since 2018.

Kohli is second on 838 runs from 27 matches.

In T20Is

 T20sInningsNot OutRunsHighest ScoreAverageStrike Rate100s50s
Babar Azam 24 24 5 1003 97* 52.78 131.28 0 11
Virat Kohli 27 25 7 838 94* 46.55 139.20 0 6
Kane Williamson 18 18 1 492 95 28.94 132.61 0 4
Steve Smith 9 6 3 250 80* 83.33 147.92 0 2
Joe Root 7 7 1 150 55 25.00 115.38 0 1

RAJNEESH GUPTA