Pakistan star Babar Azam - I don't want to be compared to Virat Kohli or any other batsman

Waseem Ahmed 17:43 10/08/2019
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Babar Azam

Comparisons with India skipper Virat Kohli have followed Babar Azam ever since the Pakistan batsman burst on to the international scene in 2015 but the 24-year-old feels that they are unwarranted.

The right-hander recently became the second fastest batsman in ODI history to register 3,000 runs during the 2019 World Cup in England and achieved the milestone in 68 innings compared to the 75 taken by Kohli to get to the mark.

However, the Pakistan sensation believes that comparisons with other batsmen such as Kohli are not really called for.

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

“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 or any other cricketer, I just want to win matches for my country as that is my only aim.”

The Pakistan superstar has been in stellar form over the last few months in England and had an excellent individual campaign for the Men in Green in the World Cup. The 474 runs scored by Babar in eight innings is the highest tally ever recorded by any Pakistan batsman in World Cup history.

The top-order batsman has extended that superb form to his maiden county stint with Somerset in the Vitality T20 Blast where he is currently the leading run-scorer with 425 runs in eight innings at an average of nearly 71 and a strike-rate of more than 155.

Babar was in terrific touch for Somerset on Friday in their clash against Hampshire and struck an unbeaten 102 off just 55 deliveries to set up a 63-run win for his side.

“Playing county cricket had been on my radar for quite a while and when this offer came from Somerset I had no hesitation in accepting it,” he said.

“I have always enjoyed playing in England and recently had a fairly successful World Cup, so the target really is to continue my good form at the World Cup into my time with Somerset. It’s a great set-up at Somerset and they have really made me feel welcome.

“It’s a county with a great tradition and some of the world’s best cricketers have played at Somerset over the years and for me it’s an honour to be playing for this great team.”

With Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur’s contract not renewed after the World Cup, there has been speculation that Sarfraz Ahmed could be removed from his captaincy across all formats.

Babar’s name has naturally been linked as a potential successor but the batsman is not thinking about the captaincy just yet.

“It’s up to the Pakistan Cricket Board to decide whoever captains the teams and in whichever format,” he said.

“The Board will decide who the captain or captains are and the players of course abide by their choice. I’ve never really thought about captaining Pakistan and have in all honesty only thought about playing for my country.

“I am not someone who craves being captain and am more interested in scoring runs for Pakistan. Whoever the Board chooses is the right choice and in fact I think Sarfaraz Ahmed is fine and is doing a good job at the moment.”

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