Babar Azam vs. Virat Kohli
One of the most fascinating topics for discussion in contemporary cricket circles involves comparing Pakistan’s Babar Azam with India’s Virat Kohli. While Azam was born on 15 October 1994, Kohli’s birthday is on 5 November 1988, which makes the Indian batsman six years older than his Pakistan counterpart. Virat Kohli began his international cricket career in August 2008 when he played his first ODI, whereas Babar Azam played his first ODI in May 2015. Virat had to wait three more years before he could play his first Test match which took place in June 2011. Babar played his first Test in October 2016, 17 months after his international debut. Kohli played his first T20I in June 2010, while Azam played his in September 2016.
Babar Azam vs. Virat Kohli Stats
Babar Azam has played 27 Tests and scored 1924 runs at an average of 44.74 with five centuries, including his top score of 143. Virat Kohli has played 86 Tests and scored 7240 runs at 53.62 with 27 centuries, including the top score of 254 not out.
Azam has played 74 ODIs and scored 3359 runs at 54.17 with 11 centuries, including the top score of 125 not out. Kohli has played 248 ODIs and scored 11867 runs at 59.33 with 43 centuries, including his top score of 183.
Babar has played 38 T20Is and scored 1471 runs at 50.72 with 14 fifties, including the top score of 97 not out. Virat has played 82 T20Is and scored 2794 runs at 50.80 with 24 fifties, including his top score of 94 not out.
Babar Azam vs. Virat Kohli Career Comparison
Virat Kohli has established himself as arguably the best batsman in the world across formats. However, a comparison of the number of matches played by the two players highlights how much more Kohli has played, Tests and ODIs especially. To get a perspective of Babar Azam’s success, we can take a look at Virat Kohli’s stats at the same stage of his career. A comparison of Virat Kohli’s stats after 27 Tests with those of Babar Azam makes fascinating reading. Having played 27 Tests, Kohli scored 1755 runs at 42.80 with six centuries to his credit. Babar Azam has scored more runs (1924) and has a better average (44.74) with one fewer century (five) than Virat Kohli had at a similar moment of his career.
Kohli’s ODI stats after 74 games reveal that the Indian batsman scored 2852 runs at 46.00 with eight hundreds. Babar Azam has scored more runs (3359) and has a better average (54.17) with three more centuries (11) than Virat Kohli had at the same stage of his career.
However, Kohli has since reached stratospheric heights, while Azam will find it rather hard to produce a similar trajectory to his future career. Take Tests: Kohli has since played 59 Tests and scored 5306 runs in 94 completed innings at an average of 56.44 with 21 tons. In ODIS, Virat has been even more impressive. He has played 174 additional ODIs and scored 8508 runs at 61.65 with 35 tons.
While Kohli’s conversion rate of centuries is outstanding, an even more impressive feature of his batting has been his ability to chase down targets in ODIs. Thus, the real difference between Kohli and Azam – or, for that matter, between Kohli and any other batsman – is in the ability to win matches, especially while chasing.
Another interesting comparison involves how the two players play home and away matches. In home Test matches, Kohli averages 62.18, while Azam averages 202.50 (limited to just three matches). In away Test matches Kohli averages 44.36, while Azam averages 35.42. In Tests played at neutral venues, Azam averages slightly better – at 40.53. In home ODI games, Kohli averages 60.81, while Azam’s average is 66.66. In away ODIs, Kohli averages 58.14, compared to Azam’s 47.18. Azam has also played some ODIs at neutral venues, averaging 61.61.
In first innings of ODIs, Kohli has averaged 49.77, while Azam has averaged 61.42. While chasing in ODIs, Kohli has averaged 68.33, whereas Azam has averaged 45.93. Kohli, who has captained in ODIs, averages 74.59 in matches played under his captaincy and 51.29 in matches he has played under other captains. Azam is yet to captain an ODI game.
Babar Azam vs. Virat Kohli in T20
Virat Kohli has played 82 T20Is and scored 2794 runs at 50.80 with 24 fifties, including his top score of 94 not out. We have already mentioned Virat Kohli’s chasing ability that makes him better than most other batsmen. That ability has also been reflected during his T20I career. Take, for instance, Kohli’s batting average in the first and second innings of a T20I game. Out of his 80 innings in T20Is, 42 have come in the first innings, while 38 during the second innings of a match. His average when India batted first has been 34.25. Compare that with his average when India batted second, which is 82.15. Babar Azam has enjoyed a brilliant batting average of 57.47 in 22 T20Is that he has played with Pakistan batting first and averages 41.16 when chasing in a T20I. Eighty of the T20I games that Kohli has played have ended in results. Of those 80, India has won 51 with 29 coming in chases. Babar Azam has ended up on the winning side in 26 of the 38 T20I matches he has played. However, out of those 26 wins, only 11 have come in chases with the remaining 15 resulting when Pakistan have batted first. In home T20I matches, Babar Azam has scored at an average of 54.11, as opposed to Kohli who has averaged 53.33. In away T20I games, Azam has averaged 49.33. In comparison to him, Kohli has averaged 46.04 in away games. In neutral venues, Azam has had a T20I average of 49.00, while Kohli has achieved an average of 55.90. As captain of India in T20I games, Kohli has averaged 43.73, compared to his average of 57.13 when playing under other captains. By contrast, Azam has performed much better as captain in T20I games with 66.33 average and just 49.61 as non-captain.
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