“Babar Azam is probably the top batter in the world right now across formats.” These are not the words of anyone but Virat Kohli, who is, in most people’s eyes, the arch-rival of the Pakistan batter.
In a chat with Star Sports, the Indian batter said, “The first talk with Babar Azam was after 2019 WC, we sat down and talked a lot. He had lots of respect, and that hasn’t changed even after doing so well in world cricket – he is so down-to-earth character, he will go a long way as a player.”
Azam, on the back of his incredible form in all formats, currently sits at first in ODI and T20Is rankings and third in the Test rankings. “We sat down and spoke about the game. I saw a lot of regard and respect from him and that hasn’t changed regardless of the fact that he is probably the top batter in the world right now across formats, performing so consistently,” Kohli said.
The India batter explained further, “And rightly so, he has amazing talent and I have always enjoyed watching him play. So that hasn’t changed. He is performing now and he is coming into his own, but I don’t see his attitude or his approach change towards me, which is a very good sign of someone who is very grounded in the foundations of his upbringing.”
“For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t touch my bat for a month. I came to the realisation that I was trying to fake my intensity a bit recently. I was convincing myself that no, you had the intensity. But your body was telling you to stop. The mind was telling me to take a break and step back,” said the 33-year-old.
I’m looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong- Virat Kohli
“I’m looked at as a guy who is mentally very strong and I am. I am but everyone has a limit and you need to recognise that limit or things can get unhealthy for you so this period has actually taught me a lot of things that I was allowed to come to the surface and when I got that I embraced it. There is much more to life than just your profession or when you create such an environment people look at your identity on the basis of your profession and somewhere you start losing perspective as a human being,” added the former Indian captain.
India and Pakistan will go head to head in the Asia Cup match on August 28th.