Pakistani legendary star fast bowler Wasim Akram backs Virat Kohli before the Asia Cup. He also comments that it is too early to compare Babar to Kohli.
Wasim Akram has publicly backed Virat Kohli, the former India captain, saying that he believes Kohli has received unwarranted criticism for his lack of form and that he would return to form in time for the Asia Cup.
A Unique Accomplishment by Kohli
In India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2022 match on Sunday (August 28), Virat Kohli will play his 100th T20I match. He will be the 2nd Indian to achieve this feat. Kohli’s average in 99 T20I games is 50.12, with 3,308 runs at a strike rate of 137.66 and 30 fifties.
Since 2019, Kohli hasn’t scored a hundred in any format. He also stepped down as captain, but he hasn’t hit his form yet. Akram talked about Kohli’s situation and how important he is to the Indian team before the Asia Cup in UAE in 2022.
What did Akram say about criticism on Kohli?
“First of all let me start by saying that criticism from Indian fans against Kohli has been unnecessary. He is one of the greatest of all time, not just in this era. He still fit as a fiddle. He is still one of the best fielders in the Indian squad. As they say class is forever and that is Virat Kohli. Hope he doesn’t come back to form against Pakistan but he will come back eventually,” Akram said.
In an interview with Ravi Shastri during Star Sports’ special coverage of the Asia Cup, Akram made the following statement.
“The fans and media have been criticizing Virat Kohli quite unfairly on social media.
“He is one of the greatest of all time, not just in this era. He still fit as a fiddle. He is still one of the best fielders in the Indian squad.
“As they say class is forever and that is Virat Kohli. Hope he doesn’t come back to form against Pakistan but he will come back eventually.”
Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri believes a break will help Virat Kohli get back to his dominant form after he was worn down by playing in all three formats.
“I recently came across a stat during India-England Test match that Kohli has played over three times the number of games as compared to his top rivals like Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root. Leading India in all three formats of the game takes a heavy toll and I believe this break will be good for him,” Shastri said.
Comparison between Babar Azam and Virat Kohli
Akram agreed with Shastri and also talked about how Virat Kohli and Babar Azam would inevitably be compared.
“The comparisons are only natural. When we played people used to compare Inzamam, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar. Before that, it was Sunil Gavaskar Javed Miandad, G Vishwanath, and Zaheer Abbas.
“Babar has been very consistent because he has got the right technique. He is very hungry and very fit. He is still a young captain but is learning very fast. However, comparisons with Virat it is too early.
“Babar is on the right track to be where Virat Kohli is but to compare him with him at this stage is too early. But he is absolutely on the right track to be one of the modern greats,” said Akram.
Also, Read about Ricky Ponting’s prediction about India vs Pakistan match at Asia Cup
Shaheen Afridi’s injury | Big Blow for Pakistan
India won’t have their fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah at the Asia Cup, and Pakistan won’t have their star player Shaheen Afridi either. Akram thought that Pakistan would suffer a lot without the left arm.
“Shaheen Afridi will be missed a lot. He is important because of the new ball. In this format, if you have to restrict the opposition by taking early wickets and that is what they do. He attacks the stumps in all formats. There was criticism when he did not take a break but he is only 22. He has got a knee injury that takes time to heal and you always fear that it might come back. He is one of the world’s top three bowlers so a big setback for Pakistan,” the legendary left-arm pacer said.
Pakistan’s Team Chances
“Pakistan team is on the rise for the past couple of years.
“They’ve been consistent, and I think the win against India, although that was a year ago during the World Cup, gave them a bit of confidence that they can compete against India day in and day out.
“The only thing I’m worried about is the middle order,” Akram said. “There is no experience apart from Iftikhar Ahmed coming in at No. 4, and then you’ll have probably Haider Ali, a young sensation who hasn’t been consistent. Babar Azam and Rizwan are the keys as far as the T20 format is concerned.
“I think in general they’re confident, but it depends on how they feel or what sort of mindset they’re in when they arrive before the India-Pakistan game because that game can make or break the Asia Cup for either side.”