Saturday May 23, 2020
Former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg has included Babar Azam in his “Current Test XI” but left out Virat Kohli, explaining that while the Pakistani batsman impressed with a battling century on the most recent tour of Australia, the Indian skipper has been a bit subdued since January 2019.
After picking India’s Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma as his hypothetical team’s openers, Hogg went for compatriots Marnus Labushagne and Steve Smith at number three and four.
It set the stage for the fifth pick to be Kohli’s but Hogg surprisingly chose Azam and explained why he picked the Lahore-born over Delhi heartthrob.
“The reason why I have included Babar Azam in the lineup is because he scored a hundred against Australia in Brisbane, when Pakistan toured Australia last year,” said Hogg of Pakistan’s limited-overs captain who has averaged a stunning 75.9 in the longest format since the start of last year.
“It’s very hard for overseas teams to perform on that particular wicket but he showed that he could and that is why he is one of the best players going around.”
Fearing that Indian fans would not take Kohli’s omission lightly, Hogg explained why he was left out.
“Everyone will ask why is Virat Kohli not in this team. But if you look at his last 15 Test innings, only four times he has gone over 31 [runs]. That’s why Virat Kohli is not my Test team this year,” he said.
In all, Hogg picked four players each from India and Australia, and one apiece from Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand.
Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Babar Azam, Ajinkya Rahane, Quinton De Kock (c/wk), Pat Cummins, Mohammad Shami, Neil Wagner, Nathon Lyon.