Mumbai: The legendary Sachin Tendulkar, on Monday pointed out the fact that he had noticed Virat Kohli’s aggressive, ‘spark’ when the latter had made his debut for India, and that aggression has now become a strength of the team.
On Sunday, the Indian skipper, playing his 200th ODI scored his 31st hundred to surpass Australian great Ricky Ponting in the most number of tons in the 50-over format. He now stands just behind the iconic Tendulkar who had scored 49 hundreds to his name in the format.
He said, “His (Kohli’s) attitude hasn’t changed since he got into the team. I noticed that spark in him which many guys were not fond of and there were many guys who were criticising him for that.”
“And today that has become the strength of the Indian team. He hasn’t changed much but people around him have changed. His attitude has changed only because of his performances and it is extremely crucial for a player to have that freedom to express himself,” he also added.
The retired batting maestro also said that the Indian team now is a much more balanced unit. He said, “I feel today we have got great balance in the team with a lot of spinners that can bat, lot of seamers that can bat. We saw what Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) did yesterday, people like him (Bhuvneshwar) and Hardik Pandya are going to change the balance when we start travelling.”
Former skipper Sourav Ganguly came out in support of Kohli saying that he too would lose some matches once in a while, after New Zealand stunned India by six wickets in the first of the three-match ODI series.
“Kohli will get better. He will lose games once in a while even in India. He is not superhuman. No captain has gone through without losing games and series in India. You look at MS Dhoni’s last one year as captain, he lost in Bangladesh. South Africa came and beat us at home. We were then beaten by West Indies in the World T20 semi-final,” said Ganguly, as quoted by India Today.
He also opined that this series would be a challenging one for India. The Men in Blue are unexpectedly 1-0 down in the series and have to win the remaining two matches to win the series.
“He will lose, he is a human. There are good oppositions. New Zealand’s middle order, unlike Australia, is going to test the Indian bowlers. This series is going to be a good workout for India. It will test India and eventually, it will be good for them,” said Ganguly.
The former skipper however felt that Kohli could have been better with his captaincy during New Zealand’s chase but also gave credit to the Kiwis for being able to play the Indian spinners well in Wankhede.
““I think the Indian team was a bit flat during the later part of New Zealand’s chase. They [Latham and Taylor] played Kuldeep very well. Latham swept him well, after getting settled he started reverse sweeping him well,” said Ganguly.
He also added, “From that point of view, I thought Virat Kohli could have done a little bit better. But that’s the way it is, he will learn. You have to give credit to New Zealand, very rarely seen any side in the last two years play spin very well against India.”