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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Babar Azam is Pakistan cricket team’s Virat Kohli, says coach Mickey Arthur

Babar Azam has played three Tests for Pakistan national cricket team, narrowly missing out on a century in the Hamilton Test against New Zealand. He has scored three centuries from 18 one-dayers.

cricket Updated: Dec 01, 2016 20:25 IST
Pakistan's Babar Azam narrowly missed out on a century against New Zealand in the Hamilton Test which the Kiwis won.
Pakistan's Babar Azam narrowly missed out on a century against New Zealand in the Hamilton Test which the Kiwis won.(AFP)

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur compared “young gun” Babar Azam to Virat Kohli on Thursday, saying the 22-year-old reminded him of the India skipper at the same age.

Babar Azam has played only three Tests, narrowly missing out on a century in Pakistan’s loss to New Zealand in Hamilton this week when he was left unbeaten on 90 as the side was bowled out.

In his 18 one-dayers, he has scored three centuries, all of which came in consecutive matches against the West Indies earlier this year.

“He (Azam) is a young gun who will be an exceptional player,” Arthur told Perth’s 6PR radio ahead of Pakistan’s sole warm-up match for their three-Test series against Australia.

“I’ll go so far as to say, at the same age, I reckon he’s as good as Virat Kohli, which I know that’s high praise but he’s right up there.”

Pakistan have resisted the temptation to change and retained the same 16-man squad for Australia that lost the recent series against New Zealand 2-0.

Read more | Pakistan horror batting leaves New Zealand on top in Hamilton Test

For South African Arthur, it will be his first time facing Australia since he coached them over a two-year tenure that ended in June 2013.

He said Pakistan were ready to fire against an Australia Test team coming off a demoralising 2-1 series loss to South Africa and had learned a lot in New Zealand.

“Had that series gone another Test match, we would have been better for the conditions,” he said of the New Zealand tour.

“Hopefully, this has put us in good stead for what we can experience in Australia.”

Pakistan play a three-day pink-ball clash next week against a Cricket Australia XI in Cairns before the first Test -- a day-night affair in Brisbane -- from December 15.

The remaining two Tests are in Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (January 3-7).

They will also play five one-day internationals in Australia.

First Published: Dec 01, 2016 15:24 IST