World Cup 2019: Babar Azam can match Virat Kohli's feats one day, says Pakistan batting coach

Published: Jun 27, 2019, 13:43 IST | mid-day online desk

Babar Azam played a match-winning 101-run not out innings to chase down the target set by New Zealand and kept Pakistan's hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup 2019.

World Cup 2019: Babar Azam can match Virat Kohli's feats one day, says Pakistan batting coach
Babar Azam

Pakistan batting coach and former Zimbabwe cricketer Grant Flower believes Centurion Babar Azam has it in him to match Virat Kohli's achievements as time goes on.

Babar Azam played a match-winning 101-run not out innings to chase down the target set by New Zealand and kept Pakistan's hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup 2019.

"He's (Babar) got Virat's hunger. I think he could be at some point in the future. He's definitely got that hunger, so if you practice as hard as he does, and you have his skills, I can't see why he can't get to the top," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) quoted Flower, as saying.

New Zealand set a target of 238 runs in Pakistan's must-win match to stay alive in the tournament. Babar along with Haris Sohail stitched a 126-run fourth wicket partnership to place Pakistan in a comfortable position. The duo tackled the likes of pacers Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, and spinner Mitchell Santner to take Pakistan over the line in 49.1 overs.

"He's (Babar) had flu over the last couple of days. Tuesday was the first time I've not seen him hit any balls the day before a match. Confidence-wise, this is definitely his best one (century)," Flower said.

"I've seen him get quite a few hundreds on pretty flat wickets, but this was a tough wicket - it was turning, Ferguson was bowling fast and there was a lot of pressure because of the context of the tournament," he added.

Pakistan batting coach further said that Babar can have a good cricketing career if he stays grounded.

"He is very special. I believe he is going to be one of the best that Pakistan have ever produced. He's really hungry, is fit and still very young. I think he'll have a really good career if he keeps his feet on the ground, which I think he will," Flower said.

With the win, Pakistan now sit in the sixth position in the World Cup standings with seven points from as many matches. The team, however, needs to win their next two matches -- against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, respectively, to secure a place in the semi-finals.

Pakistan have a point difference with the hosts of the tournament. England sit in the fourth position with eight points from seven matches. They are also trapped in two must-win matches -- against India and New Zealand, respectively, to book a semi-finals spot.

"It's quite exciting, I think. For the first part of the tournament, it didn't seem like it was going to be, but now there's pressure on some of the top teams. It's good. It definitely puts us in a good position. It's just our net run-rate, and obviously, those first few games didn't help us," Flower said.

If Pakistan win their remaining two matches, they may qualify for the semis. Pakistan meet Afghanistan in their next match of the World Cup 2019.

With inputs from ANI

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