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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Michael Hussey has his say on how Babar Azam can reach level of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith

Despite being the shining star for Pakistan in white-ball cricket, Babar Azam hasn’t been able to replicate that form in the longest format.

cricket Updated: Nov 12, 2019 13:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan's batsman Babar Azam.
Pakistan's batsman Babar Azam.(AFP)
         

Pakistan T20I skipper Babar Azam is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world but according to former Australia great Michael Hussey, he still has someway to go in order to reach the heights of Virat Kohli or Steve Smith. Due to a string of consistent performances across formats, Azam has become a mainstay in the Pakistan line-up and was recently made the skipper in the shortest format following the ouster of Sarfaraz Ahmed.

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Despite being the shining star for Pakistan in white-ball cricket, Babar hasn’t been able to replicate that form in the longest format. In 21 Tests, the 25-year-old has scored just one century and 11 fifties and Hussey says Babar will have to change this stats in order to be compared to the likes of Kohli, Smith or Williamson.

“I honestly believe this guy can be in the same conversation when we start talking about the best players in the world,” Hussey was quoted as saying by Fox Sports. “We start talking about (Virat) Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root gets floated around.

“I think if he can start putting together some big hundreds like this in the Test arena, he’s that good ... he’s a brilliant, brilliant player,” he added.

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Before the first Test against Australia, Babar issued a warning to the hosts by slamming a masterful 157 in a practice game. The right-hander was in good form in the recently-concluded T20I series against Australia, where he slammed couple of fifties but was unable to stop him team from going down 2-0 (the first match was abandoned due to rain).

This is not the first time when Babar has been compared with India skipper Kohli and the dashing Pakistan batsman has spoken out regarding the same in the past. Azam has time and again drawn comparisons to Kohli because of his consistency and social media are usually abuzz with such talks when the two teams clash during ICC tournaments.

“I don’t think there is or should be any comparison as we are different types of players,” Azam told PakPassion.net. “I just focus on my batting and working on my strengths and weaknesses and have no desire to be compared with any other cricketer.”

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“I’m sure I speak for most cricketers when I say comparisons are only for fans and the media and we cricketers don’t really crave any comparisons or want to be compared to any current or former players as that just creates endless pressure.

“As great as he is, I don’t want to be compared to Virat (Kohli) or any other cricketer, I just want to win matches for my country as that is my only aim.”