But on Sunday, even the Pakistan captain was in awe of Kohli, who engineered India’s memorable T20 World Cup victory at the MCG.
Kohli’s inspirational batting was the difference between the two teams.
“Our bowlers were outstanding in the first 10 overs. Credit to Virat and Hardik, for the way they finished the game,” said Babar after the demoralizing defeat.
But when the discussion swung to Kohli, Babar was effusive in his praise.
“Virat Kohli just showed his class today. It was a close game and people enjoyed it.”
Winning a pressure game will boost Kohli’s morale after a lean three-year spell, agreed Babar.
“Pakistan vs India are always extra pressure games and the quicker you can get over it the better. That’s why he’s a big player, there was pressure on him and he got over it and then built his innings. The way their partnership built was a turning point,” said the Pakistani skipper.
“This innings must have given him a lot of confidence and when you win these kinds of matches you feel good mentally,” he added.
Brings on Nawaz in the 20th over
The question that was inevitable was why left turner Mohammed Nawaz was introduced in the 20th over and pacers’ quota of overs had previously been exhausted.
“When the partnership (Kohli-Pandya) built, we needed to get wickets and I thought to bring my main bowler and build pressure.
“But the plan didn’t work out as I would have thought. He (Nawaz) will learn from this and next time he faces such a situation, he will realize what he has to do.”
‘We need to get over disappointment quickly’
Babar was very clear in his mind that they cannot continue to mourn this defeat as the tournament has just started.
“We will remain confident. We will learn from this defeat. Some good things happened and some mistakes happened. We will deliberate and this is just the beginning of the tournament and we have many games left.
“The quicker we get over it, the better it is. We have rugby matches and we have to focus on that.”