File photo of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam.© AFP
Star India batter Virat Kohli opened up about his equation with Pakistan captain Babar Azam ahead of the highly anticipated clash between the two arch-rivals in the Asia Cup on Sunday. Kohli revealed he first met Babar during the 2019 World Cup and said the Pakistan star always treated him with “regard and respect”, and that has not changed despite him growing in stature. Kohli hailed Babar as “the top batsman in the world across format” currently and also said that he is the kind of player world cricket needs.
“The first interaction I had with him was the 2019 World Cup after the game in Manchester. Him and Imad (Wasim). Imad I have known since Under-19 cricket, we have played against each other and Imad said Babar wanted to have a chat,” Kohli said in a chat with Star Sports.
“We sat down and spoke about the game. I saw a lot of regard and respect from him and that hasn’t changed regardless of the fact that he is probably the top batsman in the world right now across formats, performing so consistently,” the former India skipper said.
“And rightly so, he has amazing talent and I have always enjoyed watching him play. So that hasn’t changed. He is performing now and he is coming into his own, but I don’t see his attitude or his approach change towards me, which is a very good sign of someone who is very grounded in his foundations of his upbringing,” Kohli went on to say.
“His cricketing foundations as well are very solid. So these kinds of players, these kind of characters go a long way and inspire a lot of people. And I see that happening with him as well,” he said.
Kohli was seen chatting with Babar ahead of the Asia Cup.
“I congratulated him yesterday on how he’s been playing and told him how amazing to watch it is and I wish him all the best,” Kohli revealed.
“And he deserves all of this. And eventually you need to have players like him to keep world cricket exciting,” he said.
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