Pakistan captain Babar Azam has played down his rivalry with India superstar batter Virat Kohli, saying he respects him and has learnt a lot from him. India is set to lock horns with Pakistan in their 2023 Asia Cup opening match at Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Speaking ahead of Pakistan’s match against India, Azam said he respects Kohli as a senior player, insisting that he has learnt a lot from him. Pakistan will be fielding an unchanged starting XI from the Asia Cup opener against Nepal.

“I can’t comment on the debate. Let’s leave that to the fans. There should be mutual respect. I have been taught that we should respect our seniors. He is older than me

and I respect him. I have learned a lot from him. I have said earlier that when I started (international cricket) I spoke to him and it helped me a lot,” said Azam.

He went on to say that Asia Cup is not a small tournament, adding that they are focused on the Asia Cup while also preparing for the upcoming ODI World Cup. India is set to host the 2023 ODI World Cup in October and November.

“We cannot say that the Asia Cup is a small tournament and the best teams of Asia as well as the best players are also playing. At no point in time, you can take it easy. Preparation is definitely for the World Cup but our current focus is on the Asia Cup,” Azam added.
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