Virat Kohli and Babar Azam. Two fan-proclaimed KING of cricket. The 34-year-old Indian batting maestro has achieved tremendous success as a batsman and Indian skipper – India went undefeated in Test series at home under Virat Kohli – while for Babar Azam, he’s still on the rise as a batsman but his captaincy hasn’t yielded fruitful results for Pakistan so far.
Babar Azam was always the prodigy in Pakistan and was touted to play for the country. He did. In the past few years, his fans have been claiming that he will surpass Virat Kohli’s legacy in the coming years, but there is a long way to go for the 28-year-old to even come close to Kohli’s greatness that the Delhi-born has accomplished for the past 15 years.
It’s very much likely that not just Babar Azam, but any other batsman may never be able to catch up with Virat Kohli’s legacy.
Here’s why Babar Azam will never be able to match Virat Kohli’s legacy:
Consistency in all three formats
The hallmark of Virat Kohli’s career, and the reason for which many hail him as the greatest batsman of all-time, and the best all-format batsman is his incredible success and consistency in all three formats. In an era where players are picking and choosing to play one or two formats to focus on either their white-ball or red-ball career, Virat Kohli has excelled in all three formats for over a dozen years. And still counting.
Kohli has scored over 12,000 ODI runs, over 8,000 Test runs, and over 4,000 T20I runs – he has over 11,000 T20 runs which includes being the leading run-scorer in IPL history, while also ransacking big runs in Test cricket.
Only Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 100 centuries is more than Virat Kohli’s 76 international hundreds. Forget about comparing Kohli with Babar, Babar’s name cannot even be taken in the same breath as Kohli until the Pakistani captain has at least 50 international centuries; Babar Azam has 30 international hundreds at the moment.
Test performances in SENA countries
As much as Virat Kohli has achieved success at home, the most important part of his legacy as a batsman are the runs in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia)countries. Performing in these four countries is the biggest test for any Asian batsman in Test cricket.
In 41 Test matches in SENA, Virat Kohli has scored 3419 runs – out of his total 8676 Test runs – at an average of 43 – which is brilliant considering he’s played a lot Test in these countries post 2018, since when bowling has dominated in Test cricket. He’s cracked 11 Test centuries in SENA from his overall 29 Test hundreds.
Coming to Babar, in 14 Tests in SENA, Babar Azam has scored 904 runs at an average of 39, which is good, with only 1 century, that too came on a flat pitch in Brisbane on which Australia piled up 580 runs.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, has scored some of his centuries on some of the toughest surfaces to bat on, including in Centurion 2018, Edgbaston 2018, twin centuries in Adelaide 2014/15, and the toughest of all in Perth 2018.
It’s not just the runs that Kohli has amassed, but he’s earned the respect of his fans and teammates by performing on pitches where most other batters failed. Something which likened Kohli’s career to Sachin Tendulkar’s. Babar Azam is yet to wage such lone battles for his team in SENA countries in Test cricket.