Exclusive: ‘Babar Azam Has Better Skills Than Virat Kohli’- Ex-Indian Cricketer Gives His Verdict Before Asia Cup
India are ready to face Pakistan in their first match of the Asia Cup 2022 on Sunday. The blockbuster clash will have some big names playing for their country which also includes Babar Azam and Virat Kohli. (Image: Twitter)

New Delhi: India are ready to face Pakistan in their first match of the Asia Cup 2022 on Sunday. The blockbuster clash will have some big names playing for their country which also includes Babar Azam and Virat Kohli. Both the batsmen are incredible jewels of their teams and often get compared due to their incredible skills and records. Former Indian cricketer Arun Lal has his say on this comparison as he remarked that he finds Babar Azam more skilful than Virat Kohli.

“Babar Azam is a really good cricketer and he has been scoring runs regularly. Virat Kohli is struggling with his form right now but I like both of them and how they finish their career that only time can tell. Skillwise Babar Azam is exceptional but in terms of fitness and motivation, Virat Kohli is far ahead of him,” Arun Lal said to Cricket Country in an exclusive interview.

He acknowledged the fact that the former Indian captain is going through a bad patch in his career at the moment. Arun Lal remarked, ” I feel we haven’t seen a match winner in India like Virat Kohli since Virender Sehwag for India in international cricket. So, he is such a weight in the team that we should push him out of the team right now. Virat Kohli has top-level fitness, he is just out of form and I think if he plays one to two innings then he will get his belief back.”

The former player added, “He is still a great asset to India and the team gets an advantage when he is in it. So, I think we should still keep him as we don’t have a player like him in the country.”

Virat Kohli would like to hit the right form in the first match of the Asia Cup against Pakistan and take India to a winning start. Arun Lal believes that the Indian team is still the favourite to win the tournament.

“I am really hopeful ahead of the big clash between India and Pakistan and I feel that the Indian team is still a better side. However, the pressure of an India vs Pakistan match is different, the demand of that game is different and the best team on the day would win. I think it’s 60-40 in India’s favour,” said Arun Lal.

He added, “Everyone tries to play India vs Pakistan match as a normal game but it’s really difficult. You always think that you are playing Pakistan the next day and if you don’t give enough attention to it and face a defeat then the consequences could be bad.”

The former cricketer also remarked that India will miss Jasprit Bumrah in the tournament, while Pakistan will manage to find Shaheen Afridi’s replacement. Arun Lal stated, “Jasprit Bumrah will be a big miss for India in the Asia Cup. It will be big shoes to fill for anyone in the upcoming tournament. We don’t have any player like Bumrah in the Indian team right now.”

He added, “Pakistan are still the same side, if they don’t have Shaheen Afridi then someone else will come.”

India are also without Mohammad Shami in the tournament, who only plays ODI and Test cricket for India now. Avesh Khan was selected ahead of him for Asia Cup and Arun Lal believes it was the right decision by the selectors.

“I think it depends on the selectors what kind of players they want to choose for different formats of the game. Mohammed Shami is a match winner as he can take 1-2 wickets at any point of time in a match and change the game. I think his body won’t be able to take the load of all three formats of the game. He is not a youngster, so it’s better to preserve him as England do with Anderson. If I had been a selector, I wouldn’t have chosen him for T20Is a lot,” he concluded.

Asia Cup 2022 will be played in the T20 format to serve as ideal preparation for the World Cup. While India will begin their tournament with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai, the first match of the Asia Cup will be played between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in Dubai as well on Saturday, 27th August.