Some surprising results awaited as we do a Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam unique comparison for their performance in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2019-21.
Ever since Babar Azam, Pakistan’s current best all-format batsman rose to prominence after some consistent performance in all forms of Cricket in the last few years, his comparison with the current best all-format batsman, Virat Kohli has taken the centre stage in the cricketing world.
Even if we look at the current ICC rankings, they are only two batsmen to have a place in the top 10 rankings in all three forms of Cricket. While Babar Azam has a ranking of 10, 1, and 3 in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is respectively, Kohli has a ranking of 5, 2, and 5 in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is respectively.
There is no doubt about Virat Kohli being the best all-format batsman in the world currently. Be it ODIs, Tests, or T20Is, Kohli has excelled in all the formats. In his 13 years as an international cricket player, Kohli has attained records that seems unimaginable. Having said that, Kohli is currently going through a rough patch having last hit an International century in Nov 2019.
It’s a meagre coincidence that Babar Azam rose to prominence in such a period when Virat Kohli is slightly struggling. But, with Babar in his prime, and Kohli being slightly below-par, will Babar be able to beat Virat Kohli as we do an exclusive Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam comparison for their performance in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2019-21.
So, In this analysis, we would do a performance comparison of Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam in 4 different unique categories, which include Performance at Home, Away from home, Against top-ranked teams, and their overall performance in ICC World Test Championship. However, it is important to note that the comparison is just an indication of how they have performed in this particular tournament. It doesn’t give an overall picture of how legendary both the players have been in the cricketing world.
Stats At Home:
After a gap of almost 10 years of no Test cricket in Pakistan, It was only during World Test Championship in 2019 when Pakistan finally scheduled a Test match at home. It was a homecoming for Pakistan, and Pakistan’s star batsman left no stone unturned with his fabulous performance.
Babar finished the home season of the World Test Championship with 527 runs from 8 innings at a stunning average of 87.8 and a strike rate of 70. He hit 3 hundreds and 2 fifties including his highest score of 143 vs Bangladesh in the only innings vs them. However, important to note that Pakistan played all low-ranked countries viz., South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh at home.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, isn’t far behind with his performance at home. He has scored 625 runs from 12 innings at an average of 62.5. While the overall numbers don’t match Babar Azam, they are still better than his overall numbers. However, Kohli’s consistency at home is just 41.7%. This shows it is the not-outs that has helped Kohli maintain his average.
Ranking at Home: Babar Azam ~ Virat Kohli
Stats Away from Home:
When it comes to performance away from home, Babar Azam shines again. He played in Australia and England, and did well at both places with an average near to 50. Overall, Babar Azam has scored 405 runs from 9 innings at an average of 50.6. This includes 3 fifties and 1 century with the century coming against Australia.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli looked out of form away from home. While Kohli could only manage 252 from 10 innings at an average of just 25.2. Virat Kohli’s bad form had taken the centre stage away from home, and it is truly reflected from his numbers, which doesn’t have a single century even though Kohli played against West Indies.
Ranking Away from Home: Babar Azam > Virat Kohli
Against Top-Ranked Teams (Aus, NZ, and England)
While Babar’s stats against top-ranked teams are the same as those away from home, Kohli fared poorly again scoring just 288 runs from 12 innings at an average of 24. He could only manage 3 fifties with the best of 74 coming against Australia at Adelaide. Such has been Kohli’s struggle that even at home vs England, Kohli could only manage 172 runs from 7 innings at a poor average or 24.6.
Ranking vs Top-Ranked Teams: Babar Azam > Virat Kohli
Talking about the overall performance, Babar Azam seems to lead this battle convincingly with more runs, better average, and better consistency. While Babar Azam has 932 runs from 17 innings at an average of 66.6 and consistency of 59%, Kohli has scored 877 runs from 22 innings at an average of 43.9 and consistency of 36.7%.
So, it is pretty clear that Babar Azam has clearly overpowered Virat Kohli in the battle of WTC. However, even in his worst days as a batsman, Kohli’s stats aren’t as bad as they could have been. But for Babar Azam, this is just the beginning of what we can expect for years to come.
I hope you liked the analysis of Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam comparison for their performance in WTC. While there’s no doubt that Virat Kohli would make a comeback with a roar, for now. But for now, Babar Azam can safely say he performed better than his idol in this particular tournament.
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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.