But on Sunday, even the Pakistani skipper was in awe of Kohli, who shaped India’s momentous T20 World Cup victory at the MCG.
Kohli’s inspirational stick was the difference between the two teams.
“Our bowlers were exceptional in the first 10 overs. Thanks to Virat and Hardik for the way they finished the game,” Babar said after the demoralizing loss.
But when the discussion turned to Kohli, Babar was full of praise.
“Virat Kohli just showed his class today. It was a tight game and people liked it.”
Winning a game under pressure will lift Kohli’s spirits after a three-year lean spell, Babar agreed.
“Pakistan v India are always extra pressure games and the sooner you can overcome it the better. That’s why he is a great player, there was pressure on him and he overcame it and then built his sleeves. The way they built the partnership was a turning point,” the Pakistani skipper said.
“That round must have given him a lot of confidence and when you win these kinds of games you feel good mentally,” he added.
Bring Nawaz to 20th place
The question that was unavoidable was why the left arm spinner mohamed nawaz was brought to the 20th over and pacer overs quota had previously run out.
“When the (Kohli-Pandya) partnership was building, we needed to get some wickets and I thought of bringing in my head bowler and building up the pressure.
“But the plan didn’t work out the way I thought it would. He (Nawaz) will learn from it and the next time he faces this kind of situation, he will realize what he has to do.”
“We must quickly overcome the disappointment”
Babar was very clear in his mind that they couldn’t continue to mourn this loss when the tournament had just started.
“We will remain confident. We will learn from this loss. Good things have happened and mistakes have happened. We will deliberate and this is just the start of the tournament and we have a lot of games left.
“The quicker we recover from it, the better. We have back-to-back games and we have to focus on that.”