Virat Kohli reaches new heights as a batsman after show of support from Babar Azam

Since the Pakistan captain tweeted in July to support the struggling Kohli, the Indian batsman has scored over 600 runs at an astonishing average



Photo: AFP file
Photo: AFP file
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Thu 3 Nov 2022, 7:43 AM

For the record, Babar Azam is among the most consistent run-getters in the last seven years.

But what can never be found in any record books is the Pakistan captain's kindness that knows no boundaries.

His support for Virat Kohli when the Indian superstar was struggling to put bat to ball in England back in July, has warmed myriads of hearts across the cricketing world.

"This too shall pass. Stay Strong. #ViratKohli," the Pakistan skipper had tweeted on July 14, moments after Kohli was dismissed for another low score during the England ODI series.

Kohli had endured almost three years without a hundred across formats amid intense scrutiny and question marks over his place in the Indian team ahead of the T20 World Cup.

And Babar, a self-confessed fan of Kohli's majestic batsmanship, won the hearts of a billion fans with one tweet to support the beleaguered Indian icon.

Kohli didn't quite rise like a phoenix after the show of support from the captain of India's fiercest rival in cricket.

Slowly, though, the former Indian captain found his rhythm in the Asia Cup where he eventually ended his long wait for an international hundred with a vintage performance against Afghanistan, albeit in an inconsequential match.

But more importantly, Kohli began to feel good about his game again, pulling off those gorgeous cover drives and scoring runs consistently in the two home series against Australia and South Africa before heading Down Under for the T20 World Cup.

What followed next was the stuff of legends as Kohli played a magical knock of 82 not out to stun Babar's Pakistan in the two team's epic clash at the MCG.

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After four matches at the World Cup, Kohli is now the leading scorer with 220 runs at an astonishing average of 220 (striker rate 144.73) as his brilliance has put India on the brink of the semifinals.

Remarkably, since Babar took to Twitter to defend Kohli on July 14, the Indian superstar has scored 641 runs in 15 innings at an average of 71.22 (strike rate 139.65).

"Thank you. Keep shining and rising. Wish you all the best," Kohli had replied to Babar's famous tweet in July.

The mutual respect between India and Pakistan players in recent years has proved sports can indeed bridge the gap between countries with a bitter past.

Now that Babar is going through a bit of a rough patch, don't be surprised if Kohli nudges the affable Pakistani to keep faith in his talent.


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