Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam: Who is the Better Player?

In every sport there are players that define generations and leave everyone in awe of their skills. In football, for the past decade, it was Ronaldo and Messi, the two best football players ever. Even though they were doing things that no footballer could ever do, people drew comparisons between the two to decide which one is better than the other. There’s nothing wrong with the comparison, but they should be made on logical grounds backed with stats. In cricket too, there are players who have ruled the cricket pitch with their batting and the runs they score for the team. Sachin Tendulkar vs Virat Kohli comparisons have been inevitable, but one comparison that has led to a lot of toxicity among cricket fans is the Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam. 

Virat Kohli and Babar Azam having a conversation before an India vs Pakistan match

Credit: News24 Hindi

In this article by ZAP, let's settle the debate between Virat vs Babar with proper stats and logical arguments. 

What is the Babar vs Kohli comparison?

India vs Pakistan is the most hotly contested cricket match in the world. Two countries having rifts politically, results in the fans crazily supporting their teams. At the heart of these rivalries were always the pace bowling attack of Pakistan (the best in the world) and the mastery of the Indian Batsmen. Whether it be Sachin Tendulkar vs Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar or Virat Kohli vs Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, and Mohammad Amir.

Also Read: The Fastest Bowlers in the World | Football vs Cricket

But in 2015, came a batter, who would transform how the Pakistan Cricket Team played and carried the team’s batting order on his back. And that player is Babar Azam. In the past decade, Pakistan had not had a batsman who could dominate any bowling attack, be it on the Australian Pitches, against England, or against the Kiwis. But Babar Azam did just that, similar to what Virat Kohli had been doing for the Indian Cricket Team ever since his debut. With both batsmen, equally important for their teams, nobody could stop the comparison that were being made, with fans from both countries showing exceptional support for their player. And this has given rise to the Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam debate. 

Virat vs Babar: Who is the better Batsman?

Virat Kohli made his international debut in the year 2008, seven years before Babar Azam. Considering the cumulative stats will be illogical because of the extra matches that Virat Kohli has played. But we can look at the batting averages of both batsmen to know who has had the better impact. 

Kohli vs Babar in ODIS:

Virat Kohli batting in the 2012 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup

Credit: News 18

Kohli had already played in over 150 One-Day Internationals and amassed over 20 centuries by the time Babar hit the field for Pakistan in his debut international game. Still, Babar Azam has been the fastest player to reach 2,000 ODI runs, needing just 47 matches to achieve the feat, whereas it required Kohli 56 games to accomplish the feat. Despite having played twice as many games as Babar Azam, Virat Kohli is a master of the One-Day International cricket format and has a higher average and strike rate. In terms of hundreds scored, Virat has the most centuries in the game and has overtaken Tendulkar with 50 tons. But, with the six-year age difference between the two, Babar Azam has every chance of surpassing Kohli as well.

Beyond that, it is the pressure situations that Kohli has mastered playing in. His stats just while chasing are better than some batsmen’s entire career statistics. He has scored 7,794 runs at an average of 65.49 while chasing in 159 matches, with 27 hundreds and 40 fifties. How ridiculous is that!

Babar Azam batting in an ODI game for Pakistan

Credit: The Express Tribune

Babar in ODIs is all about his consistency and his batting genius. He has been dominant against teams in the day long format thanks to his flawless batting technique, from his awestriking cover drive to his effortless batting footwork. An impressive thing about his batting in ODIs is how many of his runs come for winning cause. Of his 19 centuries, 14 have come in winning causes. He could flourish more as a batter if only he had another batsman in the Pakistan Cricket Team who could support him and have the same impact as Rohit Sharma does for India.


Virat Kohli

Babar Azam

Matches Played



Runs Scored



Batting Average



Batting Strike Rate



Centuries (100s)



Half-Centuries (50s)



100s per Match



You can see, that Virat Kohli has scored a century ODI every 6th game whereas Babar Azam has done it in every 6.25 games. Even his batting average and strike rate is better than him, hence we can say that Virat Kohli right now is a better batter than Baba Azam in ODIs. 

Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam T20I Stats:

The closest level between the two is in Twenty20 internationals, where Babar has played 104 matches and the Indian batter has played 115. With an average of 52.73, Kohli has amassed 4008 runs, the most runs by any players, whereas Babar has amassed 3,485 runs at a 41.49 average.
Here's a table comparing the T20I stats of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam:


Virat Kohli

Babar Azam

Matches Played



Runs Scored



Batting Average



Batting Strike Rate



Centuries (100s)



Half-Centuries (50s)



Based on these statistics, both players have excelled in T20Is, but Virat Kohli's higher average and run tally suggest that he has been more consistent and impactful in this format.

Babar vs Virat Test Stats:

With 8,676 runs in 111 Tests matches, Kohli leads the tally once again. Babar has 3,722 runs in 49 Test matches. Kohli is the quickest player having reached 7,000 runs in the longest format in just 81 matches. 


Virat Kohli

Babar Azam

Matches Played



Runs Scored



Batting Average



Batting Strike Rate



Centuries (100s)



Half-Centuries (50s)



Virat Kohli is a modern great in the longest format of the game and has a more prolific record in the format, with higher run accumulation, a better average, and more centuries, and hence is the best test batter.

Virat Kohli raises hi bat to celebrate a century

Credit: India TV News

Not only these stats in the three different formats, Virat Kohli has won 3 Player of the Tournament awards in ICC Tournaments, 2 in the 2014 and 2016 ICC T20 World Cup, and 1 in the recent 2023 ODI World Cup for his batting performances. His brilliance, versatility, and reliability across all three formats of the game make him one of the greatest players of all time. And for that reason, everyone can agree that Virat Kohli reigns supreme over any player in practically every format of cricket.

But, Babar Azam is the only batsman in the game right now who can match Kohli's accomplishments. In limited overs, he is almost as excellent as Virat Kohli, and he can play well in test cricket as well. To address his flaws, he plays cautious and struggles to pace innings, which accounts for his low strike rate. He needs to work on it for sure, especially in the T20s. With a healthy strike rate of 94 in the Odis and 138 in the T20s, surpassing even Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli is considered the modern goat in limited-overs cricket. If, for the next 10 years, Babar Azam continues to play the way he is doing right now, just being a bit fearless and with a better strike rate, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to surpass Kohli.

Babar Azam vs Virat Kohli Captaincy Record: Who is the better Captain?

Virat Kohli does a celebration sushing the opposition players as a captain

Credit: Hindustan Times

Virat Kohli was one of the best captains of the Indian Cricket Team. His captaincy in the test matches, in ODIs and in T20Is was a thing of beauty, because of the passion and aggression that he led the team with. He took India to the top place in the ICC Test Rankings and captained the team to victory in the away Australian Test Series in 2018-19, a feat no other captain has achieved. However, he failed to win an ICC tournament in his tenure. He transformed the Indian bowling lineup from a spin bowling attack, which was left by MS Dhoni, to a prolific and lethal pace attack. 

Babar Azam looks clueless as the captain

Credit: Al Jazeera

Babar Azam rose as the captain of the team after Sarfaraz Ahmed was removed as the captain. The Pakistan board appointed their best player in the team as his successor, and in the beginning, it all seemed to be perfect, he became the only captain who had taken Pakistan to the No. 1 spot in the ICC ODI Team rankings. He even took his team to a semi-final and a final in the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups respectively, but couldn’t reach the finish line. Even in the 2023 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup, they had an underwhelming campaign, finishing 5th and didn’t even qualify for the knockouts. Also, a big criticism of Babar is that he has no clue about the right bowling changes, the right fielding setups, and lack of aggression in pressure situations. Due to all these reasons, he recently stepped down as the captain of the Pakistan Team in all formats.

Here are the captaincy records of both players:

Virat Kohli Captaincy Records:


Matches Played



No Result/Tied

Win Percentage

























Babar Azam Captaincy Records:


Matches Played



Tied/No Result/Draws

Win Percentage

























Babar vs Kohli: Batting Technique Analysis

The key behind both batsmen’s success is their unbelievable batting techniques. When it comes to statistics, Virat Kohli is the most successful batter in the game right now. He excels at playing on technique, which sets him apart from most other batsmen. He was never regarded as a big six-hitter and very rarely played flashy shots, such as the uppercut, scoop shot, paddle sweep, reverse sweep, or switch hit. He just knows how to keep it simple and do the simpler things better than anyone on the planet. Be it timing the ball to perfection, playing shots with soft hands and stealing those extra single and doubles or just finding the right gaps to hit those boundaries. His batting is  perfectly paced based according to situation and the big hits usually come right at the end when needed. Some of his best shots are the cover drive, the flick shot, and the pull shot and his playing style against spin bowling is just wow!

One of the most distinctive aspects of Babar Azam's batting style is his footwork. He can play cricket shots all over the ground and get into position fast thanks to his natural stance and smooth feet movement. Babar Azam's ability to bat with consistency is another important component of his style. He has good technique and can maintain head stillness at the point of contact, as shown by his ability to play through the V and down the ground. He is renowned for his astute shot selection and his straight drives, on-drive and off-drives, and the cover drive are some of his best shots.

Though both batters have mastery over all cricket shots, the most talked about shot for both is the cover drive. Let’s analyse how both batsmen play the cover drives:

Virat Kohli Cover Drive:

Virat Kohli plays the perfect cover drive

Credit: ESPN Cricinfo

Kohli tends to plant his front foot forward and relies on his bottom hand dominance. His cover drives are often checked, meaning he doesn't follow through but presents the bat to the ball for greater control. His drive is a bottom hand dominant stroke, using his wrist to generate power. Kohli has a larger front foot stride, allowing him to get close to the ball in swinging and seeming conditions. He gets his heads close to the ball for the best chance of middling it.

Babar Azam Cover Drive:

Babar Azam plays his trademark cover drive

Credit: Cricindeed

Azam, on the other hand, moves his feet more with the rest of his body and follows through with a high elbow. He follows through with a high elbow, allowing him to generate power and adjust the direction of his shot. Azam is noted to be slightly more top hand dominant, making his follow-through more natural for him. He has a smaller front foot stride, providing him more time to adjust and time the ball late. He watches the ball closely and accordingly plays the ball under his eyes. 

Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam - The Fitness Test:

Virat Kohli Fitness Workout Plans

Credit: Koimoi

Virat Kohli is hands down one of the fittest cricket players in the world. He is an icon not just in cricket, but throughout the world thanks to his pristine shape and physically fit condition. He has completely revolutionized the importance of fitness as far as Indian cricket is concerned. His levels of fitness have now become the least professional expectations from any young cricketer. His motivation for achieving such a fitness level came from his slump in form early in his career. The former Indian skipper made it clear that his high level of fitness would be what elevates his cricket to a new level and then went on to set the bar high for every player. Now, you don't see Virat ever being out of the team for injury reasons and playing the most matches throughout the year. His fitness even shows in his batting style. He is one of the quickest runners between the wickets and scores the majority of his runs in singles and doubles. This fit body has even helped him become one of the best and most reliable fielders on the ground. He can dive to take brilliant catches, has insane reflexes and some of the most accurate direct hits. 

Babar Might be one of the best batsmen in the world right now, but by no means is on the level of Virat Kohli in terms of fitness. One of the major criticisms that he gets about his playstyle is that he needs to work more on his fitness to become an overall better player for his team.

Also Read: Cricket Exercises and Workouts for Fitness | Cricket Injuries

The Global Popularity:

One aspect where Virat Kohli beats Babar Azam by a mile is of global importance and popularity. Virat Kohli is like the face of the sport in countries where cricket isn’t very popular like the United States of America, is the biggest sports market in the world. Virat is the third most followed athlete on Instagram with 265 Million followers, which is more than the likes of LeBron James in basketball and Neymar in football; whereas Babar only has about 5.5 million. Also, he is one of the main reasons for cricket being included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic games. Not just this, Kohli’s influence makes him one of the highest-paid celebrities in India with a staggering net worth of over Rs. 1,000 Crore while Babar Azam’s net worth is only Rs. 41 Crore. 

Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam: The Better Records

Virat Kohli Records:

Test records

  • Most Wins as captain of India, with 40 wins out of 68 matches. 
  • Four Test double-hundreds in four consecutive series. 

ODI records

  • Most ODI centuries ever (50)
  • Most ODI centuries while chasing (27). 
  • Most ODI centuries in India (22). 
  • Fastest to 8,000 runs (175 innings), 9,000 runs (194 innings), 10,000 runs (205 innings), 11,000 runs (222 innings), 12,000 runs (242 innings), 13,000 runs (267 innings).

T20I records:

  • Most runs in T20Is – 4,008 runs. 
  • Most Fifty plus scores in the career – 38 (including 37 fifties and 1 century). 
  • Highest career batting average in T20I – 52.73. 
  • Fastest to - 3,000 runs (81 innings), 3,500 runs (96 innings) 
  • Most player of the match (15 times) and player of the series awards (7 times)

Babar Azam Records:

Test Records:

  • Record holder for most runs by a Pakistani batter in the last innings of a Test - 196 vs Australia in Karachi 2022.
  • Most deliveries faced by a batter in the 4th innings of a Test - 425 vs Australia in Karachi 2022.

ODI Records:

  • Fastest Asian batsman to reach 3000 runs in ODI cricket (68 innings).
  • Record holder for the most runs in the first 25 innings of his career (1306 runs).
  • Only cricketer to score 5 consecutive centuries in a single country (United Arab Emirates).
  • Fastest batsman to score 7 ODI centuries (33 innings).
  • Fastest captain to reach 1000 ODI runs (in 13 innings).
  • Only batter to score 3 consecutive ODI centuries twice.

T20I Records:

  • Longest reigning No.1 ranked T20I batter
  • Fastest batsman to reach 1000 runs in T20 internationals (26 innings).
  • Fastest to 2000 and 2500 T20I runs.
  • Joint-fastest to 3000 T20I runs.


Though the Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam comparison seems like a hot topic right now, but in all aspects it is one of the stupid ones to have. In current times, there’s no reason why anybody would say Babar is a better player than Kohli. Overall too, the former Pakistan captain hasn’t played enough matches to make it a fair comparison. But, if we look at all the above aspects, Virat Kohli easily beats Babar Azam in all. Be it being a better batter in the three formats, the individual brilliance of Kohli in pressure situations, the leadership qualities, the records, and global influence, Virat Kohli beats Babar Azam in all!

Now that you have read about the comparison between Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, here are some more articles about the legends of the game we recommend you read about:

AB de Villiers | Suresh Raina | Gautam Gambhir | Yuvraj Singh

1 comment

  • Babar Azam

    Fuck the person who write this article

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