Published on: Jan 01, 2024
Former England captain Nasser Hussain picked star Indian batter Virat Kohli and former Pakistan captain Babar Azam as two players he expects to have a very good 2024.
The 35-year-old scored 2,048 runs in international cricket at an average of 66.06, with eight hundreds and 10 half-centuries in 36 innings. He played eight Tests in 2023, scoring 671 runs at an average of 55.61 with two hundreds and as many fifties. He scored 186 against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ahmedabad.
Kohli also had a fantastic year in ODIs, scoring 1,377 runs at an average of 72.47 and a strike rate of 99.13, with six hundreds and eight fifties. Speaking about the Indian batter, Hussain said in an ICC video, “My first one is a megastar and there is no doubt about it. Virat Kohli. Obviously, he had a fantastic 2023 and World Cup. Amid all the records he broke and the attention, we did not focus on how well he was batting.
“Technically, I have never seen Virat bat as well like that. The sound of the bat, that innings against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, I can name about five innings where he was getting in a good position. That is a good sign for Virat, India and Virat fans. It means that he is in a good mental space and his game is in good order,” he added.
Kohli had a record-breaking 2023 ODI World Cup, scoring 765 runs in 11 innings with three hundreds. He also broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 one-day tons during the ICC event.
Shifting focus to Babar, Hussain said that Pakistan need him to score big runs especially with T20 World Cup 2024 coming up in the West Indies and the USA. “Another one, they are often compared. Babar Azam. I think it is a massive year for him and Pakistan. He has given up captaincy, that may be the weight off his shoulders. The biggest thing he can do for Pakistan cricket is get load of runs. They need him to get runs. There will be a T20 World Cup in the Caribbean,” the former England skipper said.
“They got to the finals last time. They will need their ex-skipper to put in a real performance,” Hussain added.
Babar played 35 matches across formats in 2023, scoring 1,399 runs at an average of 39.97, with three tons and 10 fifties. He had a best score was 151, which came in ODIs.
–By A Cricket Correspondent