ANI Photo | “Babar Azam reminds me very much of Virat Kohli”: Tom Moody

Former Australian cricketer Tom Moody has drawn parallels between Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, and Virat Kohli, citing Babar’s “genuine cricket strokes,” astute game comprehension, and proficiency in chasing down targets.
In an exclusive conversation on Star Sports show “Game Plan”, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar and former Australian cricketer Tom Moody discussed the similarities and differences between the two great players in modern-day cricket, Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, in terms of their qualities in the 50-over format game. Former Australian cricketer Tom Moody also expressed his thoughts on Babar Azam’s role as the captain of the Pakistan team for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.
Moody spoke about the similarities between Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, he said, “I Think absolutely he is. He does remind me very much of Virat Kohli, the way he goes about his business. He plays authentic cricket shots. He seems to understand, and read the game very well, which Kohli has done for over a decade. He is a good chaser as well like Virat Kohli has proven to be over many many years. So, there is so much likeness between the two and I would not go as far as saying that Virat is going have a better Asia Cup than Babar Azam, but they both can have equal pressure on them and it’s going be delight to watch them both bat because they are box office.”
Moody further spoke on the role of Babar Azam as the captain of the Pakistan team, he said, “Well, the captaincy for any captain in any Asian team is always a very challenging one. The microscope is very much on every single captain and every single move and suddenly you have got so many experts out there when you do make a move that maybe not be the right move at the time but I think that he is still dealing with the growing pressures of captaincy there is no question of that. So, you know, he will only continue to get better. He is also got around him, I mentioned the experience of this Pakistan side now, he has also got a lot of experience around him and a lot of players that have been in captaincy roles whether that be in franchise cricket or in their domestic cricket, so he has got a lot of strong leadership pillars around which I am sure he will draw upon.”
Manjrekar spoke about the qualities of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam by drawing a comparison, he said “Absolutely, and we can expect that to happen again. Just one thing that you know people like Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have had to deal with that they have had long careers and they sort of have spanned over 10 to 15 years and anytime there has been a rising star, he has been compared to a guy who has been in the race for a long time. So sometimes it can be a little unfair but the greatness of these two guys is that they maintain that standard that the best performance of a rising player is equated with it.”
He further added, “Yes, both very good players. One is obviously in his prime younger but coming to these kind of platform we want to say Virat and see with the format that we have here, not the T20 format, Asia Cup this time round you might just see a bit of Babar Azam and maybe show his place as well.”
In 275 ODI matches, Virat has scored 12,898 runs at an average of 57.32 and a strike rate of 93.62. He has scored 46 centuries and 65 fifties, with the best score of 183. 
In 10 ODIs this year, he has scored 427 runs at an average of 53.37, with two centuries and one fifty in nine innings and a best score of 166*.
Babar on the other hand has played 102 ODIs, scoring 5,142 runs in 100 innings at an average of 58.43. He has scored 18 centuries and 27 half-centuries, with the best score of 158. 
This year in 11 ODIs, he has scored 538 runs at an average of 48.90, with one century and six fifties and best score of 107. 
The Asia Cup to be held in Pakistan and Sri Lanka will start from August 30 with the match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan on September 2 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy set to serve as the Men in Blue’s campaign opener. 
Pakistan, India and Nepal are in Group A while Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The tournament will follow a hybrid model with Pakistan hosting four matches across two venues and Sri Lanka hosting the remaining games.
The six group-stage matches will be followed by the Super Fours, beginning September 6. 
The final will be played by the top two teams at the end of the Super Fours on September 17 in Colombo.  
Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna. (ANI)

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