Babar Azam can’t be compared to Kohli: Ali

Former Pakistani cricketer and coach Basit Ali tells The Daily Guardian that Babar Azam has a long way to go.

Q. How do you see cricket getting affected by the new ICC rules that have come into play?

 A. I would say as long as post-Covid rules are concerned, there is a very good chance for the middle-order batsmen to score runs. Batsmen like Virat Kohli, Babar Azam, Labuschagne, Root, Williamson, are going to rule the game. Spinners might run out of luck. Bowlers like Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and R. Ashwin might not dominate for too long.

Q. Amidst the pandemic, Pakistan has reached England, what is your take on this?

A. England is playing West Indies before Pakistan. It is the way chess moves are done. England want to be No. 1 Test playing team. If England get 240 points from both the series then it will be equal to India in the Test Championship points table, the West Indies were also given special money so that they can play Test matches in England and England can get 120 points.

Q. Babar Azam recently said that he should not be compared to Virat Kohli, do you think it is fair to compare them?

 A. Babar Azam can’t be compared as Virat. Virat has been playing cricket for 10 years. Usually, people make judgments in a hurry. I think Babar has a lot to prove, and maybe after three years, it would be appropriate to compare him with Kohli. No doubt, Babar is a fine player and in a tremendous form, but he has a long way to go. Maybe he will do it sooner, but right now it is not the time. Kohli is way ahead.

Q. What are your views about the prospects of the IPL and the T20 World Cup?

 A. I think IPL will be there. I don’t see any hope for the Asia Cup or the T20 World Cup as of now. And I personally want IPL to take place because there are numerous fresh and deserving players awaiting their debut, and IPL is a platinum opportunity for them.

Q. How do you see the evolution of fast bowling in India, considering Pakistan has always been a hub of pacers? And why does Pakistani batting lag behind their bowling department?

A. Pakistan always had a fiery battery of fast bowling in their team. Even now, pacers like Naseem Shah and Musa Khan are bowling at a good speed. However, I would say, it is not only Pakistan. India has had equally good bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan. Nowadays, we see Indian youngsters are quite impressive with the bowl. Look at Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jaspreet Bumrah and Umesh Yadav; they’re just phenomenal. And speaking about Pakistani batting, it has seen a somewhat inconsistent graph from time to time. And I believe it is more with the youngsters, they have not learnt to calm their temper after the arrival of the T20 cricket. They need to focus on the longer format of the game and conserve their energy.