Babar Azam, Shoaib Akhtar, Paksitan, World Cup, ICC World Cup 2019
Akhtar said while Azam has been scoring some crucial runs for Pakistan, he fails to go the full distance. @ AFP

Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar Monday said Virat Kohli fan Babar Azam should learn to play like his “idol” and convert good starts into big knocks by adapting to match situations the way the Indian captain does.

Akhtar said while Azam has been scoring some crucial runs for Pakistan, he fails to go the full distance.

“I would like to tell Babar Azam that when you consider Virat Kohli your idol then you should also learn to play like him. Virat has scored runs in very difficult situations. Babar should learn to take singles like Virat, learn to improvise like him,” Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

“If you look at players like Virat, Rohit Sharma, Kane Williamson…all these guys accelerate their scoring after reaching fifty. Babar should learn from them. He should have more range of shots,” he added.

Akhtar, however, showered praise on Haris Sohail, who scored a 59-ball 89 during Pakistan’s convincing 49-run win over South Africa in their crucial ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 fixture at Lord’s in London on Sunday. Babar chipped in with 69 off 80 deliveries. (ALSO READ: Butter-fingered Pakistan stay alive, South Africa eliminated after Lord’s scrap)

“I was constantly saying that Haris Sohail should be included in the playing XI because he is a very compact player. Against South Africa, he showed how to score runs. In fact, he looked better than Babar Azam.

“Haris provided the thrust and helped Pakistan get a total in excess of 300. Haris Sohail was a great addition and Shoaib Malik was dropped which was a fair call,” said Akhtar.

With five points from six games, Pakistan still have an outside chance of making the last four stage. They will next be playing New Zealand, followed by Afghanistan and Bangladesh. (ALSO READ: Pakistan cricket team is alive and kicking, warns coach Mickey Arthur)

If Pakistan manage to win all three of their remaining matches and results of other teams go in their favour, they could make the cut.