Virat Kohli is The Best Batsman in All Three Formats: Junaid Khan
Virat Kohli (AFP Photo)

Pakistan pacer Junaid Khan rates India captain Virat Kohli ahead of his contemporaries due to his success across all the three formats of the game. Kohli is the only current active batsman to average at least 50 in Tests, ODIs and T20Is at the same time.

Kohli has often drawn comparisons with the likes of Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Babar Azam. The consistency with which these have scored runs make them the finest batsmen of the current generation but for Junaid, Kohli ranks above the four others due to his success in all the formats.

“No doubt (Virat) Kohli is the best batsman in all three formats,” Junaid said in a video uploaded on Cricingif YouTube channel. “If you ask anyone, they would say that players like Babar Azam, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith are the currently the best in the world but on top of the list is Kohli because he has been outstanding in all three formats.”

Before Junaid fell off the radar, he was regarded as one of the future of Pakistan’s famed pace attack. The combination of injuries and loss of form meant he lost his place across formats.

So far he has played 22 Tests, 76 ODIs and 9 T20Is and taken a combined 189 wickets in them.

Junaid’s on-field battle against Kohli during Pakistan’s India tour of 2012 became the talking point after the left-arm pacer dismissed him thrice in a single series with the visitors winning the three-match ODI series 2-1.

“Before that tour, I was playing domestic cricket in Faisalabad. I had bowled around 35-40 overs in each match so I had developed momentum heading into the series,” Junaid recalled the tour.

“I was making a comeback in the ODIs and when we were going to India, I knew that this is my only chance to make a comeback into the team. I was permanent in the Test team but had to comeback to ODIs. Secondly, I knew if I would perform well in India, I would need to take wickets,” he added.

Kohli was already a batting superstar by then but he struggled during that tour, managing 13 runs in three innings including a duck.

“The first ball I bowled to him was a wide but the next ball when I beat him, I thought ‘he’s a normal batsman’. Then I got some momentum,” the 30-year-old recalled. “Virat jokingly said to me ahead of the series that these are Indian pitches and that balls won’t swing or seam here. I said ‘we will see, because I have plenty of momentum with me as well.”