‘Babar Azam’s class far better than anyone else…’: Akhtar points out area where Pakistan captain is catching up to Kohli

Comparisons between Pakistan’s star batter Babar Azam and former India captain Virat Kohli have been quite frequent. While Kohli is an established big name in cricket, Babar is on the rise and catching up, let alone break, many of Virat’s batting records. When Kohli was struggling with his form, Babar, the Pakistan captain, went on a rampage, becoming the No. 1 batter and burning up the run charts.

At the Asia Cup 2022, Babar endured poor form but he roared back to scoring runs with a stunning second T20I hundred in the match against England on Thursday. Opening with Mohammad Rizwan, Babar helped Pakistan chase down the target of 200 runs with all 10 wickets intact to create a world record. He ended up with an unbeaten 110 off just 66 balls as Pakistan recorded the highest successful chase without losing any wicket in T20I.

The record-breaking feat took Twitter by storm and several former cricketers lauded the display of Pakistan’s openers. Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar was all praise for Babar for the chasing ability that he showcased in the match, going to the extent of comparing Babar’s exceptional chasing skills to that of Kohli’s.

“I think hats off to the chase. The chasing template, at one point, was Virat Kohli’s great characteristic. Babar has replicated it and shown it. Babar’s class is far better than anyone else in this world. His elegance and shot selection are all class and if his strike rate goes above 150-160, then he becomes something else. And when he does that, Pakistan win games,” Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.

The retired Pakistan cricketer further stressed on the importance of strike rate and explained how the opening duo of Babar and Rizwan should bat up for the order.

“This is what Pakistan requires. The run rate and the strike rate. Our openers, especially Babar Azam has shown why he is the No. 1 player in the world. When he scores at a good strike rate, it becomes easier for Rizwan. They complement each other. But again, I keep stressing about the strike rate because it’s very important, added Akhtar.

“Both the openers scored at over 160. I understand that it’s not possible to maintain this kind of strike rate in every game but make sure you keep up with the required rate. And when you get out, you should not leave the other guys with an asking rate of 11 or 13. Having said that, Babar is one of the greatest players. When he is on the song, I think he is amazing.”