'Virat is still...': Babar Azam shares another message for struggling Kohli prior to IND vs PAK Asia Cup blockbuster
Kohli, the former India captain, has endured a prolonged lean patch and has failed to register an international century since his 70th in November 2019.
Virat Kohli is set to return to action in the Asia Cup T20 tournament in the much-anticipated match between India and Pakistan on Sunday after taking a month-long break. Kohli, who rested during the recent white-ball tour of West Indies and Zimbabwe, has seen an extended lean patch, having scored an international century in November 2019. His batting slump has also raised questions over his place in the current Indian setup. Watch: Rohit Sharma's uber-cheeky reply to Pakistani journalist's ‘who’ll open with you' question
The mercurial batter could manage just 76 runs from six innings across formats on England soil, which included the rescheduled fifth Test, two ODIs and as many T20Is. He has endured a torrid 12 months, which has also seen him getting replaced as India's all-format captain.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam has extended his support to out-of-form Kohli, saying one has to be on top of his game to match the Indian. "Nothing is easy in life. There are challenges everywhere. It is up to you how you achieve things in life and how you overcome the challenges you face. Virat is still one of the best batters world cricket," Babar said on the eve of the blockbuster Asia Cup game between India and Pakistan.
"How you compete against a player like him, and that too in different conditions, is very important. Every cricketer, if you ask me, faces ups and downs in their career. It's not that there is only success and no failures. You really need a strong mindset to handle things in life that often do not go in your favour," Babar added.
Earlier, Babar had shared a tweet in support of Kohli as the former India captain continued to struggle during the England tour. “This too shall pass. Stay strong. #ViratKohli,” Babar wrote.
The two players also met recently before India's practice session in Dubai. In a video shared by the BCCI, Kohli was seen exchanging pleasantries with the Pakistan star.
About the Indo-Pak showdown, Babar said that the game won't be one-sided like the previous meeting, which was 10 months ago in 2021. The last time the two nations faced was at the same venue during the T20 World Cup, a contest which Pakistan won by 10 wickets.
"Honestly, that game is a thing of past now. It won't have an impact on Sunday's match. I am completely focused on tomorrow's game. The teams are kind of different, the conditions are different. Although as a side we are confident, we won't talk big ahead of the game. We wish to prove it on the field. As a captain, I am ready to give my 100 per cent," he said.
"Every cricket lover around the world waits for this clash. We, as cricketers also enjoy taking part in it. Both the teams try their best to keep their respective fans happy."