Cricket

Asia Cup 2022: Virat Kohli says Babar Azam is 'top batsman' in world right now across all formats

In a conversation with broadcasters Star Sports, Kohli recalled the first time he had met Babar Azam, in the 2019 ODI World Cup in England.

Asia Cup 2022: Virat Kohli says Babar Azam is 'top batsman' in world right now across all formats

Babar Azam meets Virat Kohli ahead of Asia Cup 2022. Image: Screengrab/ BCCI Twitter

Rohit Sharma-led Team India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a the marquee clash of the 2022 Asia Cup in Dubai on Sunday, and Virat Kohli recently opened up on his rapport with Pakistan skipper Babar Azam.

In a conversation with broadcasters Star Sports, Kohli recalled the first time he had met Babar Azam, in the 2019 ODI World Cup in England.

“The first interaction I had with him was the 2019 World Cup after the game in Manchester. Him and Imad (Wasim). Imad I have known since Under-19 cricket, we have played against each other and Imad said Babar wanted to have a chat,” Kohli said.

The former India skipper called Babar Azam the world’s ‘top batsman’ currently. “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 batsman in the world right now across formats, performing so consistently,” added the Delhi-born cricketer.

“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 his foundations of his upbringing,” Kohli continued.

“His cricketing foundations as well are very solid. So these kinds of players, these kind of characters go a long way and inspire a lot of people. And I see that happening with him as well,” added the 33-year-old.

In a video posted on BCCI’s official Twitter handle, Kohli was seen having a chat with Babar after Team India arrived in UAE for the Asia Cup on Wednesday.

“I congratulated him yesterday on how he’s been playing and told him how amazing to watch it is and I wish him all the best,” said Kohli.

“And he deserves all of this. And eventually you need to have players like him to keep world cricket exciting,” added the right-handed batter.

Kohli will be looking to regain his old form in the Asia Cup. Kohli, who has not scored a century since 2019, endured a disappointing run in England earlier in the summer, scoring just 76 runs from three matches across formats.

Following their Group A match against Pakistan on Sunday, India take on Hong Kong in their final group match on 31 August.

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Updated Date: August 28, 2022 16:12:15 IST

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