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  • Nasima Akter

Babar Azam Shows Mutual Respect to Virat Kohli

Babar Azam Shows Mutual Respect to Virat Kohli

In the Asia Cup 2023 opener against Nepal at Multan Cricket Stadium, Pakistan's captain Babar Azam delivered a sensational performance. He scored an impressive 151 runs off 131 balls, hitting 14 fours and four sixes during his innings. Babar Azam's outstanding display drew praise from former Indian captain Virat Kohli, who expressed that Babar might be the finest batter globally in all formats. This compliment from Virat Kohli left Babar elated. The mutual respect between the two players has temporarily eased tensions among fans from both sides.

Virat Kohli had openly expressed his admiration and shared a memory of his initial encounter with Pakistan's standout batsman, Babar Azam, during an interaction with Star Sports last year. In response, Babar Azam recently acknowledged Virat's comments and talked about the impact Virat's praise has had on his cricketing journey and skills. Babar also said that praise from someone like Virat gives him confidence.

"I saw a lot of regard and respect from him from day one, and that has not changed. Regardless of the fact he's probably the top batsman in the world across formats, performing so consistently and rightly so. He has amazing talent and I have always enjoyed watching him play," said Virat as quoted by ICC. "So that [Babar’s attitude] has not changed because he is performing now, and he is coming into his own. I do not see his attitude or approach changing towards me," he added.

Babar Azam responded to Virat Kohli's remarks in a recent interview where he discussed the influence Virat has had on his playing style. "It feels really good. When someone talks about you like this. And what Kohli has said, has made me very proud and happy," he said.

"Such praise gives you confidence. When I met him in 2019, he was at his peak. He is still at his peak. I wanted to take something from his game. I learnt a lot from him. He gave a detailed explanation to all my questions. That helped me. When you do such things for each other, it feels really good," he added.

Both players have performed exceptionally well in One Day International (ODI) cricket. Babar, who recently scored a crucial 151 runs against Nepal, has an impressive average of 59.47 in ODIs and has scored a total of 5,353 runs. He has also scored 19 centuries in ODIs, which is the second highest number for Pakistan in this format.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has accumulated 12,898 runs in ODIs with an average of 57.32. He has achieved 46 centuries in this format, which ranks second in the history of ODIs. The teams in Group A include Pakistan, India, and Nepal, while Group B comprises Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka. The tournament's structure involves a hybrid model, with Pakistan holding four matches at two venues, and the remaining games being hosted by Sri Lanka. Following the six group-stage matches, the Super Fours stage will commence on September 6th.

The ultimate match will feature the top two teams that emerge from the Super Fours stage, and it is scheduled to take place on September 17 in Colombo.


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