Pakistan’s cricket captain, Babar Azam, expressed his delight in receiving praise from India’s star player, Virat Kohli, and highlighted the deep-seated mutual respect that defines their relationship. Kohli’s laudatory remarks regarding Babar Azam were shared in an interaction with Star Sports last year, where he reminisced about their first meeting.
Kohli’s admiration for Babar Azam’s talent and his unchanging respect were evident in his comments. He said, “I saw a lot of regard and respect from him from day one, and that hasn’t 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’ve always enjoyed watching him play. So that [Babar’s attitude] hasn’t changed because he’s performing now, and he’s coming into his own. I don’t see his attitude or approach changing towards me.”
In response to Kohli’s words, Babar Azam shared his sentiments and elaborated on the impact of Virat’s praise on his confidence. He stated, “It feels really good. When someone talks about you like this. And what Kohli has said, has made me very proud and happy. Such praise gives you confidence. When I met him in 2019, he was at his peak. He’s 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.”
Both Babar Azam and Virat Kohli have made significant contributions in the ODI format throughout their careers. Babar, who recently played a match-winning knock of 151 against Nepal, boasts an average of 59.47 in ODIs with a total of 5353 runs. He has achieved 19 ODI hundreds, ranking second for Pakistan in this format. On the other hand, Virat has accumulated 12898 runs at an impressive average of 57.32, securing 46 ODI hundreds, which stands as the second-highest in the history of the format.
Virat Kohli’s affinity for ODI cricket was also discussed in his conversation with Star Sports. He emphasized the multifaceted challenges that ODI cricket presents, from technique to situational adaptability. Kohli shared, “I love playing ODI cricket. I think ODI cricket is one format which tests your game completely. Your technique, your composure, playing the situation. And playing differently in different phases of the game. So I think it tests you as a batsman completely, that’s why I feel that ODI cricket has always brought the best out of me, because I like to embrace that challenge, and play according to the situation to help my team win.”
The impending clash between India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 has cricket enthusiasts eagerly anticipating a thrilling encounter. Virat Kohli acknowledged Pakistan’s formidable bowling lineup, including the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, and Shadab Khan. He recognized Pakistan’s strength lies in their bowling prowess and emphasized the need to be at one’s best while facing them, considering their capacity to impact the game’s dynamics with their skill-set.
As the Asia Cup unfolds and cricket aficionados anticipate riveting contests, the camaraderie and mutual respect between players like Babar Azam and Virat Kohli serve as a testament to the spirit of sportsmanship and competition that characterizes the world of cricket.