Former Pakistani pacer Aaqib Javed has opined on the perennial Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam debate. Javed feels that although better equipped with his range of shots, Virat Kohli lacks behind Babar Azam in terms of technique against the swinging ball.
Speaking to Cricket Pakistan, Javed shared a piece of advice for both the batsmen. For Babar Azam, Javed suggested he follow in Virat Kohli's footsteps in maintaining a strict fitness routine.
As for the Indian skipper, Javed advised him to take cues from his Pakistani counterpart and improve his off-stump game.
"Virat Kohli has a better range [of shots] as compared to Babar Azam but he also has one area of weakness. If the ball swings, he tends to get trapped around the off-stump such as against [James] Anderson in England,” said Aaqib Javed.
Javed even compared Babar Azam to Sachin Tendulkar, calling the former's technique at par with the Indian batting maestro.
"When you look at Babar, you don’t see any weak areas. Just like, [Sachin] Tendulkar who also didn’t have any weak areas. Babar is technically more safe and sound but if he follows Kohli’s fitness routine he will become an even better player. Meanwhile, Kohli can improve his technique by looking at Babar so that he doesn’t get trapped," Javed who played 163 ODIs and 22 Tests for Paksitan, added.
Virat Kohli and Babar Azam are among the few modern-day batsmen who have the technique and nous to perform in all formats of the game.
Although Virat Kohli is more experienced and a master of the ODI format, Babar Azam is closing in on him by carving his own niche in T20Is.
"Never thought Babar Azam would go past Virat Kohli in ODI rankings" - Aaqib Javed
Currently, Virat Kohli leads Babar Azam in both the ICC Test and ODI rankings while the latter is ahead in the shortest format.
However, with a superb series against South Africa where he scored 228 runs from three games, Babar Azam is set to surpass Virat Kohli in the ODI charts.
Aaqib Javed said he never expected Azam to be this consistent. Heaping further praise on the 26-year-old, Javed argued that he has 'single-handedly' improved his team's batting fortunes.
"During the past two or three years, Babar Azam is 50 per cent of Pakistan’s batting. I never thought that he would be this consistent and even go past Virat Kohli [in ODI rankings]. Pakistan is very lucky; he came when the team was struggling and has single-handedly put the team on the right track. Even, captaincy hasn’t affected his form," Javed signed off.