Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar fully expects comparisons between Virat Kohli and Babar Azam during the upcoming Asia Cup starting from August 31. However, Kohli has arguably been one of the greatest batters of all formats. But Babar Azam’s amazing first few years in international cricket have made many fans believe that he could be as good as Kohli, if not better as well.
Speaking to Star Sports, Sanjay Manjrekar said: “Absolutely, and we can expect that to happen again. Just one thing that you know people like Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have had to deal with that they’ve had long careers and they sort of have spanned over 10-15 years and anytime there’s been a rising star, he’s been compared to a guy who’s been in the race for a long time. So sometimes it can be a little unfair but the greatness of these two guys is that they maintain that standard that the best performance of a rising player is equated with it.”
However, Virat Kohli has had a history of stepping up in big games and on big occasions and Manjrekar feels it will be more of the same for him this tie also. But he also believes that with the Asia Cup being a 50-over tournament this time, Babar Azam could also do well. Notably, India and Pakistan will play against each other at Kandy on September 2 in the Asia Cup.
On this, Manjrekar stated: “Yes, both very good players. One obviously in his prime younger but coming to these kind of platform we want to say Virat Kohli and see with the format that we have here not the T20 format, Asia Cup this time round you might just see a bit Babar Azam and maybe show his place as well.”
However, Sanjay Manjrekar made a couple of interesting choices while naming his 15-member India squad on Star Sports for the ODI World Cup as well. He feels Hardik Pandya’s importance to the Indian team will be as much with the ball as it is with the bat as well.
“Hardik Pandya’s form is a bit of a concern. He has to do a lot of heavy work at the World Cup. You need him as an all-rounder and not just as a batter. So you need at least 6-7 overs per game. When India won the 2011 World Cup, it was because of people like Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina being the batters who could bowl,” he concluded.
Manjrekar’s India squad for the World Cup: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Yuzvendra Chahal.