GALLE, SRI LANKA (AFP) – Pakistan skipper Babar Azam yesterday said India’s Virat Kohli remains one of the best players in world cricket despite his prolonged slump and should get all the support he needs to regain his batting form.
Kohli, who has been rested for the upcoming One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 series in West Indies, has not hit a century since 2019 and has been under fire for his extended lean patch, with questions being raised over his future.
But Azam on Thursday tweeted a picture of the two sporting rivals captioned “This too shall pass. Stay Strong”, which went viral as fans praised the Pakistan batsman for backing the former India captain.
“As a player (tough) times can fall on you as well,” Azam said ahead of his side’s opening Test in Sri Lanka.
“I know how a player goes through such times and how he comes out of it. So he needs support in those times and as a player I tweeted to support him.”
Azam, who is often compared to Kohli for his prolific run-scoring, added, “He is one of the best players and he knows how to come out this. It takes time but we should back him.”
Former cricketers including Kapil Dev have said Kohli should be dropped and youngsters given a chance to prove their worth in a competitive Indian team.
India captain Rohit Sharma, however, has backed his senior batsman to bounce back soon.
“He has been such a great batsman, he doesn’t need reassurances,” Rohit said after his team’s ODI loss to England on Thursday.
“Form does go up and down, it’s part (and) parcel of a player’s life. It’s just a matter of one or two innings” for Kohli, he added.
Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said Kohli “has got to find his way” to score runs again.
Many former players, including Ashish Nehra, believe the star batsman should take a prolonged break to get his batting mojo back.
Kohli, who has hit 27 centuries in 102 Tests since making his debut in 2011, has endured a torrid 12 months that also saw him replaced as India’s captain.