Monday, April 19, 2021

Babar Azam vs Virat Kohli?


Since Babar Azam became the number one ranked ODI Batsman in the world, comparison between him and Virat Kohli has flooded social media.

Not only fans, but even former cricketers have weighed in with their retorts.


The comparison between the two batting greats is natural as it was Kohli who was dethroned by Babar in the ODI rankings. Plus, Babar and Kohli are the only two batsmen in the world who are ranked in the top 10 (actually top 6) in each format, which clearly makes them the best in the world at present.

However, there is a big difference between the two.

Kohli has been playing international cricket for 13 years! While Babar has been around for only 6 years. Kohli has played 435 international matches across formats. Babar has not even played 200.

While comparison may be natural, it is not entirely fair given the different era that they started their careers in, and the different stage of their careers they are in now.

But who are we to stop this comparison.

Where Babar ranks higher than Kohli in ODIs and T20Is, Kohli ranks higher in Tests.

Kohli is the only batsman in the world who averages over 50 in each format. Babar was there once, but currently he is not.

If you compare Kohli's performance during the first third of his career, i.e. after the same number of innings as Babar has played currently in each format, you will note that Babar's numbers are superior.


In terms of runs, Kohli is ahead in Tests; however Babar has a significant lead in the limited overs formats. In terms of average, I would say that Babar is ahead given the stark difference in their ODI average.

Overall, Babar's numbers are better considering he has scored 7,915 international runs in 184 innings, compared to Kohli's 7,332.

One can't ignore the fact that when Kohli started his career with India, he was in the company of very good batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Yuvraj Singh. Even presently, he has the likes of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane.

Meaning that there was a lot less pressure on Kohli; whereas Babar has had to many a time single handedly carry Pakistan's batting.

All what the above comparison shows us is that Babar has been far better than Kohli during the initial part of their careers. Kohli from hereon, improved with every season, and went on the become the absolute best batsman in the world across formats; and still is.

Babar has laid down a tremendous platform to sky rocket. He too has improved with every season and currently his batting is at a level that none of us have witnessed before.

The momentum is with him with his best years well ahead of him. If Babar can keep improving, or even continue in the same vein, he will do well to level with Kohli, if not go past him.

Make your pitch on this post...



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