Virat Kohli seems a touch ahead of Babar Azam as we look at his peak period stats comparison vs Babar Azam in ODIs.
If there is one topic that could well be the hottest topic in the cricketing world right now, it is Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam. Although Virat Kohli debuted much before Babar Azam in 2008, ever since Babar Azam debuted in 2015, he has been breaking record after record which Kohli had once owned.
The seven years since 2015 have seen the rise of Babar Azam and Virat Kohli together. While Virat Kohli owned the period from 2016 to 18, the last few years have seen a decline in his performance. Whereas after a decent start to Babar Azam’s career in 2015, the golden years of his career are currently going on.
If we look at the form of Babar Azam in ODIs since 2019, and especially 2022, he seems to be in a league of his own; just like how Virat Kohli was from 2016 to 18. Comparisons have already started floating with the current World Number 1 ODI batter Babar Azam already being considered an all-time great alongside World number 2 ODI batter Virat Kohli.
Seeing such an ominous performance from Babar Azam, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how these G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) players have performed in their peak period, and understand how they dominated the world with their performance? Coincidently, the peak period for Babar Azam starts in 2019; just after Virat Kohli’s peak period, which ranges from 2016 to 18.
So, In this analysis, we would be comparing the performance of G.O.A.T players Virat Kohli and Babar Azam in ODIs during their peak period (2016 to 18 for Kohli and 2019 to 22 for Babar) in 4 different unique categories, which include Performance at Home & Away, Against top-ranked teams, Low-ranked Teams and their overall performance. So, let’s get to it.
Home vs Away:
The home and away stats makes for an interesting comparison right up with Virat way ahead when it comes to away stats whereas home stats belong to Babar Azam. Away from home, Virat has 1962 runs from 29 innings at an average of 103.3 and a strike rate of 99.4. Whereas Babar has 1351 runs from 26 innings at an average of 61.4 and a strike rate of 94.7.
For home stats, Virat Kohli may be slightly behind Babar Azam, but in no way his stats are inferior. Overall, Virat Kohli has 1439 runs from 21 innings at an average of 84.6 and a strike rate of 102. Whereas Babar Azam has 823 runs from 10 innings at an average of 102.9 and a strike rate of 100.6. With Babar Azam having played half the innings, the next 11 innings could go either way.
Ranking for Home: Babar Azam > Virat Kohli
Ranking for Away: Virat Kohli > Babar Azam
Against Top-Ranked Teams (India / Pak, SA, England, NZ & Australia)
While Home and Away stats are important, performance against top-ranked teams determines a player’s quality as a batter. For Babar, stats are looked for 5 countries including India. Whereas for Kohli, stats are looked for 5 countries including Pakistan.
Overall, Virat Kohli seems to have aced this category. He has 2278 runs from 33 innings at an average of 87.6 and a strike rate of 97.2. This includes a stunning twenty 50+ scores, thus making for a 50 every 1.5 innings. For Babar, stats aren’t fantastic, but are good as he managed to score 1464 runs from 24 innings at an average of 69.7 and a strike rate of 96.6. However, he has thirteen 50+ scores, thus making for a fifty every 2nd innings.
Ranking vs Top-Ranked Teams: Virat Kohli > Babar Azam
Against Low-ranked Teams (Non I.P.S.E.N.A.):
Performance against low-ranked teams doesn’t make a player great, but it shows how one can dominate against a team which can ultimately inflate the average and strike rate much. However, that doesn’t mean these are not important as capitalizing on opportunities is a quality one needs.
Comparing the performance, Virat once again seems to have an upper hand here with a total of 1123 runs from 17 innings at an average of 112.3 and a strike rate of 107.9. Whereas Babar Azam has 710 runs from 10 innings at an average of 78.9 and a strike rate of 97.3. But when it comes to consistency, Babar’s 70% is slightly better than Virat Kohli’s 68.9%.
Ranking vs Low-Ranked Teams: Virat Kohli > Babar Azam
Talking about the overall performance, Virat played for full 3 years, and managed a total of 3401 runs from 50 innings at a bradmanesque average of 94.5 and a strike rate of 100.5. He has achieved a consistency of 68% during his peak period and has a low scores % of just 22%. In addition, Virat has twenty-nine 50+ scores, thus making for a fifty every 1.7 innings.
For Babar, he played a total of 34 innings in his peak period since 2019. The less number of innings is due to COVID-19 and other playing challenges. In these 34 innings, Babar has managed 2174 runs at an average of 72.5 and a strike rate of 96.8. He has achieved a consistency of 62% and his low-scores % is slightly better at 18%. But Babar has managed nineteen 50+ scores, thus making for a fifty every 1.8 innings.
Overall Ranking: Virat Kohli > Babar Azam
Concluding the analysis, Both these players in their peak seem to have unmatched performance that only defines their greatness. It is a benchmark for future players to replicate or surpass something that is unreal. But when it comes to comparing both these G.O.A.T players, Virat Kohli in his peak period was a different beast altogether. With the prime years of Babar yet to come, he has all the potential to redefine greatness with an extension of his peak period.
Thanks for reading! Looking at the stats comparison, which player’s peak outclasses the other in Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam? Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.