The Indian cricket team suffered a 100-run defeat at the hands of Jos Buttler-led England at the iconic Lord’s on Thursday. However, more than Team India’s loss, it was Virat Kohli’s form rather than lack of it, that hogged the limelight in London. The star India batter is going through an extended slump and is potentially on the brink of being dropped from the national team. Some even suggested that he has already been removed from the Rohit Sharma-led side after Virat Kohli was not named in India’s squads for the upcoming T20I and ODI matches against the West Indies in the Caribbean. However, seeing Virat Kohli struggle on a cricket pitch is not a good sight for anyone, even for his fiercest rivals. Unlike several former India cricketers, Babar Azam, the man who has often been compared with Virat Kohli, has come out in support of the beleaguered Delhi-born batter. “This too shall pass. Stay strong. #ViratKohli,” the Pakistan skipper wrote on Twitter.
— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) July 14, 2022
Babar Azam’s tweet immediately went viral on the micro-blogging platform and has raked in nearly 128K likes since being posted a few hours ago. Azam’s post has also been retweeted more than 5,000 times.
Thank you Babar!! You won the Virat Fans heart 💖
— Lokesh Reddy Vepanjeri (@lokeshreddy0219) July 14, 2022
Babar Bhai you keep winning hearts ♥️
Love you and Kohli bhai 🇵🇰🇮🇳♥️
— Fine Legs 🇵🇰 (@finelegs12) July 14, 2022
We love you from India, it’s really very pleasing that you are supporting Kohli
— Yash (@yasbirpal) July 14, 2022
respect for you man!!!!!!! ❤️😄 thanks for standing with our king in tough time!!!! love you babar azam!!! may you achieve a lot of success
— KOHLI KA PANKHA HUN KOI PROBLEM HUH!?? (@LAZZY_BANNANA) July 14, 2022
Finally huge respect for you babar ..this is the real spirit of the game ❤️❤️
— 𝙑𝙂𝙀𝙀𝙀𝙀𝙀𝙀𝙀𝙀 July 14, 2022
Babar Azam’s words of encouragement for Virat Kohli came after he was dismissed for 16 in the second match of India’s ODI series against England at Lord’s on Thursday. Virat Kohli had missed the first ODI due to a groin injury.
The opportunity was there for Virat Kohli to hit a big hundred and bring the Men in Blue out of a deep hole after Team India had lost their captain Rohit Sharma for a duck early in the innings.
Instead, he made the usual mistake of poking at a wide off-stump delivery only to be caught behind by wicketkeeper and England captain Jos Buttler off the bowling of David Willey at the Mecca of cricket in the British capital.
According to ESPNCricinfo, more than 84 percent of Virat Kohli’s dismissals since 2019 have been on balls bowled outside the off-stump.
Before Virat Kohli joined the Rohit Sharma-led Team India in the second ODI, he featured in two T20I games against England but could only register scores of 1 and 11 in his innings at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge respectively.
Virat Kohli also took part in the fifth and fifth final Test against the Three Lions at Birmingham but could not reignite his form as he was dismissed for 11 and 20 in his two knocks there.
Virat Kohli had a woeful run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and could score only 341 runs at a dismal average of 22.73 in 16 matches.
Meanwhile, Babar Azam has broken numerous Virat Kohli records of late. The Pakistan skipper first went past the India star’s milestone of being the fastest captain to a thousand runs in T20Is. Subsequently, Babar Azam became the only cricketer in the world to hit three consecutive hundreds in ODIs twice.
Last month, the Lahore-born player leapfrogged Virat Kohli to occupy the No.1 spot in the T20I rankings for the longest reign at the top. While Virat Kohli sat at the perch for 1,013 days during the last decade, Babar Azam has surpassed that total with his continuing stay at the numero uno position in the ICC’s charts.
Recently, Babar Azam’s good friend Imam-ul-Haq shared his views on the Virat Kohli vs the Pakistan captain debate.
While Imam-ul-Haq acknowledged that Virat Kohli was a legendary cricketer, he claimed that Babar Azam would surpass the Indian’s tally of runs in the future.
“Virat Kohli is a legend and there’s no doubt about that. If someone has played 240 plus matches and someone 80, then you can’t compare them. If you compare their careers right now, then Babar is way ahead, but as my best friend and captain of Pakistan, I want him to break plenty of Kohli’s records,” Imam-ul-Haq said on SAMAA News.
“But right now, I can’t understand the comparisons. One has more than 10,000 runs. Yes, at the end of their careers, I want Babar to score 3 to 4 thousand runs more than Kohli in every format,” Imam-ul-Haq added.
Virat Kohli will be back in action for India on Sunday when Rohit Sharma and his men will face Jos Buttler-led England in the third and final ODI at Old Trafford in Manchester.
According to several experts, Virat Kohli’s performance in the match would have a deep impact on his cricket career, considering that he has been rested from the upcoming tour of the West Indies.
India squad for third ODI: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah , Prasidh Krishna, Mohd Shami, Mohd Siraj, Arshdeep Singh