Comparison with Virat not justified, he’s a match-winner: Ramiz Raja on Babar-Kohli debate
Former batsman Ramiz Raja has touched upon an ever-raging debate – the comparison between India captain Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, believing the Pakistan skipper needs to learn to become a watch-winner from his Indian counterpart.
Babar is the only batsman who is among the top five batsmen in ICC rankings in all three formats, but while he is considered one of the best batsmen going around, Raja feels there are areas the Pakistan skipper can improve in, especially looking at the benchmark set by Kohli.
“This Pakistan batting line-up needs him to score massively. What he has to do is become a match-winner now. He needs to learn that from Kohli. And he’s got the potential. He’s only 25. I feel that with time, he’ll get better,” Raja told Times of India.
“In 1992, when we toured England, Inzamam-ul-Haq didn’t get any (big) score at all, and look at where his career ended, so it’s not that this is the end of Babar, that he was tested against the moving ball and didn’t deliver properly. Next time when he goes to England, it will be a bit like Kohli – he will be more at home playing swing and seam.”
The cricket fraternity stands divided when it comes to comparing Babar and Kohli. Former Pakistan batsman Younis Khan had said the time may not be right to draw parallels between the two batsmen as Babar started his career long after Kohli. The thought was echoed by Inzamam-Ul-Haq and now to some extent by Raja.
Kohli, 31, made his limited-overs debut in 2008, three years before he received his maiden Test cap in 2011. Babar, on the other hand, is six years younger than Kohli and made his debut for Pakistan in 2015, a time when the India captain was beginning to peak. With a gap of almost 300 international games, Raja considers the comparison between the two ‘not justified.’
“The comparison with Virat is not justified. Virat is a match-winner. Babar has played only a handful of Tests. He’s finding his way through the international circuit. However, it must be great for him to be compared to Kohli. I don’t think that it brings pressure on him,” Raja said.
“He should be encouraged, enthused to be like Kohli. To be compared to Virat is a compliment, not a pressure situation. I don’t think that when he goes out to bat, he thinks about that comparison. What he looks at is the ball, to adapt to the conditions, and what the team demands.”