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Babar Azam as good as Kohli at 22: Mickey Arthur

AAP logoAAP 1/12/2016 Laine Clark

At 22, three-Test young gun Babar Azam is as good as Indian master Virat Kohli at the same age, according to Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur.

Azam was a rare shining light with the bat for Pakistan during their 2-0 Test series loss in New Zealand.

And Arthur has wasted little time talking up Azam ahead of their three-Test tour of Australia.

Ahead of the first Test in Brisbane, Pakistan on Thursday flew into Cairns for their sole warm-up match - a three-day pink-ball clash next week with a Cricket Australia XI in Cairns.

"He (Azam) is a young gun who will be an exceptional player," former Australian coach Arthur told Perth's 6PR radio.

"I'll go so far as to say, at the same age, I reckon he's as good as Virat Kohli, which I know that's high praise but he's right up there."

Pakistan No.3 Azam is yet to hit a Test ton but had come close with an unbeaten 90 in the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton.

He averages 46.40 after three Tests - one played in the West Indies, two in New Zealand - with two 50s.

In comparison, India's Kohli also made his debut at 22 and averaged 15.20 after his first three Tests - all in the Windies.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur reckons 22-year-old Babar Azam is as good as Indian master Virat Kohli at the same age. © Francois Nel/Getty Images Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur reckons 22-year-old Babar Azam is as good as Indian master Virat Kohli at the same age. Azam has hit three tons in 18 one-day internationals for Pakistan, averaging 52.11.

He will need to fire if Pakistan are to improve on their batting in New Zealand.

Their highest innings total during the two-Test series was 230.

And they lost nine wickets in Tuesday's final session to lose the second Test by 138 runs.

Arthur's tenure might come under scrutiny if there is a repeat effort with the bat by Pakistan in Australia.

The heat is on Arthur after Pakistan had lost their first Test series since 2014 and first against New Zealand since 1985 with the Hamilton collapse.

South African-born Arthur will face Australia for the first time since the end of his two-year tenure as national coach in June 2013.

But Arthur cut a relaxed figure when Pakistan arrived in Cairns for a week-long preparation for their tour match.

"I think we've become better and better as the series has gone on," Arthur said of their New Zealand tour.

"We arrived straight from Dubai to five days of rain in Nelson so we didn't get any training or a practice game, which was completely rained out.

"And there was an earthquake as well.

"Had this series gone another Test match, we would have been better for the conditions.

"Hopefully, this has put us in good stead for what we can experience in Australia."

Their tour match starts next Thursday.

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