- Virat Kohli has scored 70 centuries in total from ODIs and Tests
- Babar Azam is the up and coming talent from Pakistan often compared to Kohli for his batting style and aggression
- Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar tells what Azam needs to do to surpass Virat
Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar has given his view on the ever-present comparison between India captain Virat Kohli and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, saying that despite all the comparisons which are being drawn between the two players, the debate surrounding the two is wrong.
Kohli, with 70 international centuries (ODIs and Tests), is one of the world’s leading batsmen, and while Babar has only been steadily climbing up the ladder. Babar is definitely one of the most promising batsmen of this generation and could be counted as a part of the Fab Five, along with Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and Steve Smith.
Having said this, Akhtar reckons the gap between the two batsmen is way too much.
In fact, the Rawalpindi Express has predicted Kohli to peel off at least 30 more centuries in the coming five years and backed the India captain to take his tally of international tons to at least 110 – 10 more than the current record-holder Sachin Tendulkar with 100 international hundreds.
In an exclusive interview with Sports Tak, the 45 year old former pacer said, “Virat has what… 70 centuries in international cricket right. So in the next five years, he will get 30 more and I want him to get 120 centuries, or at least 110.
“See, with these many runs, who can be compared to him? The debate in itself is wrong. And Babar is now coming through. It’s really good that there is healthy competition”.
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Babar, 26 years old, is six years younger than Kohli and started his international career in 2015. Akhtar feels that in order to catch up to Kohli’s stupendous record, the Pakistan captain will need to go on a rampage in the next few years to come.
In the process, Akhtar feels Babar could become the greatest Pakistan batsman of all time, however, whether he will be able to surpass Kohli is something that can only be decided in another 10 years’ time.
Akhtar added, “If Babar needs to beat Virat and surpass him, he will have to score more runs chasing and play the kind of innings Kohli has.
“There is no doubt that Babar Azam can probably be the greatest batsman of Pakistan, but it will take time. We will judge Kohli and Babar after 10 years where they stand”.