Babar Azam almost in Virat Kohli, Steve Smith’s league: Misbah-ul-Haq
Maintaining that he doesn’t like to get involve in comparing different players, the former Pakistan captain said, Babar Azam is very close to being in the same league as India skipper Virat Kohli and Australia’s Steve Smith.Updated: May 25, 2020 14:27 IST
There has been no cricketing action in the last two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic but that hasn’t been able to keep the likes of India captain Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith and Pakistan limited-overs skipper Babar Azam away from news. The discussion about Kohli, Azam and Smith has more or less featured in every social media interview of current and former crickers around the globe. Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was the latest to put on the hot seat.
Maintaining that he doesn’t like to get involve in comparing different players, the former Pakistan captain said, Babar Azam is very close to being in the same league as India skipper Virat Kohli and Australia’s Steve Smith.
“I don’t like comparisons but Babar is currently very close to being in the same class as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith or Joe Root,” Misbah said in an interview to Youtube channel, Cricket Baaz.
Babar Azam, who is currently the No.1-ranked T20 batsman of the world believes in working hard t compete with the best, said Misbah.
“He believes in the work ethic that if you want to better Kohli you have to work harder than him at your skills, fitness and game awareness.”
The 25-year-old, who was named captain of the Pakistan T20 team ahead of the Australia series in October last year, was recently handed the reins of ODI team as well.
“Making him the T20 captain was a tester. We wanted to see how he will respond to this challenge. All of us agree that he has done a very good job and his biggest plus is that being among the worlds top players he leads by example,” Misbah said.
“If you are a performer like Babar then it becomes easier for you to motivate the rest of the team and get things done.
“Even when I was made captain in 2010 my performances were here and there and I was in and out. But captaincy changed my game and mindset and I became a more hard working and motivated cricketer.”
Misbah said Babar always challenges himself and would get better as a captain with experience.
“He is in a zone of his own. He just doesn’t want to be in the team. He just doesn’t want to play for money. He wants to be the top performer for Pakistan. He is always pitting himself against other top batsmen like Kohli or Smith,” he said.
Babar interestingly, had played down the comparisons with Kohli. “I think it’s better if you are not comparing. I have said that he is a different kind of a player, and I am a different player,” Babar Azam had said in a recent press conference.
Misbah said Babar will become a better captain with experience.
“He loves challenges in the nets and on the field. He has really matured as a player and in time he will get better as a captain with experience.”
Babar was the leading run-scorer of the T20I series against Australia last year. He also scored 210 runs, which included a hundred, at 52.50 in the Test series against the same opponents.
In the two-Test home series against Sri Lanka, Babar ended the series with 262 runs with an average of exactly 262.
Misbah feels Babar had changed as a batsman when he got runs in the Tests in Australia.
“Before that he was getting runs in tests but not consistently. In Australia and in the following tests against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh he changed,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)