Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has predicted that middle-order batsman Babar Azam would become as good as Indian captain Virat Kohli in the future. A couple of months back, Arthur had made similar claims about Asad Shafiq, after his triple century, becoming the next Sachin Tendulkar.
The 22-year old contributed an unbeaten 90 in Pakistan's 216 in the second innings in difficult conditions on a green surface in the Hamilton Test against New Zealand.
“He's (Azam) a young gun who will be an exceptional player. I'll go so far as to say at the same age, I reckon he's as good as Virat Kohli which I know that's high praise but he's right up there,” Arthur told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Azam, who made his ODI debut last year against Zimbabwe, has played 18 matches accumulating 886 runs at an average of 52.11, scoring 5 half-centuries and 3 big ones. He was given his Test cap against the West Indies in Dubai and was recalled for the New Zealand tour taking his grand total to 3. However, he has performed rather well for the team thus far scoring 232 runs at an average of 46.40.
Kohli, on the other hand, has been India's go-to man for the last few years, scoring freely. In his 51 Tests so far, he has scored at an average of 48.28 while he scores 52.93 runs per match in ODIs. While the averages are similar, we will have to wait years before Mickey Arthur’s premature claims are validated given Kohli’s standards of consistency over the past eight years.