Kolkata: Legendary batsman Gundappa Vishwanath on Sunday, heaped praise on Indian skipper Virat Kohli, saying that the latter has, “every chance” of going past the iconic Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 international hundreds.
The 29-year-old has been in great form, notching up a record 558 runs in the six-match ODI series against the Proteas with three hundreds and one fifty.
Speaking on the sidelines of an U-14 Invitational Cricket tournament final at the Garia Mitali Sangha on Sunday, Vishwanath said, “Kohli has shown consistency, performance and is getting hundreds regularly, he has got every chance to break that record, but it’s a tall order.”
“Records are eventually meant to be broken. I am happy for that and I think even Sachin will be happy. But it is still a long way to go,” he further added.
The Indian captain has been one of the best batsmen in the world in recent times and has 35 ODI hundreds to his name, only behind Tendulkar’s 49. Not only as a batsman but Kohli has showcased good captaincy skills as well, leading his side to their first ODI series win over the, ‘Rainbow Nation’ in their own backyard.
A stylish batsman himself in his playing days, Vishwanath was happy with way Kohli was going about his business, lauding the latter’s consistency.
“Everyone knows what Kohli is doing, he has been absolutely brilliant. Consistency is amazing and his hunger for runs, aggressiveness, he is at another level and I hope he continues and stays there.
“The confidence is showing on his team, it is doing very well, their performance augurs well for Indian team,” he said.
Wishing to stay away from any comparison whatsoever, Vishwanath who also is fondly referred to as, ‘Vishy’ said that Kohli’s recent performances might make him one of the best captains India has ever had.
“I do not wish to compare but certainly the result is showing what Virat is doing. They beat most of the teams in India in recent times and in South Africa they came very close to beating them, especially in the first Test.
“They came back and won the third Test. I have confidence on this team that they will do well against other teams in their own countries,” opined the legend.
Also with the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav demolishing the opposition with their wrist-spin, it has indeed become very tough for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to claw their way back into India’s limited overs’ sides.
But Vishwanath felt that there is a healthy competition and that both Ashwin and Jadeja can’t be ruled out.
He said, “There is very healthy competition because Ashwin has done tremendously well and Jadeja, too, in Test matches. So, you can’t rule them out. But, at the same time, there is one spinner who has taken more than 30 wickets, which is brilliant.”
Commenting further on the performances of both Kuldeep and Chahal, Vishwanath said, “Wrist spinners are bowling well, you have to pick their line and length, sometimes they, the South Africans struggle, especially in one-day cricket.
“Wrist spinners always come in handy because they can get turn on any wicket. Kuldeep is showing amazing consistency, I don’t think they picked up his wrong uns’.”
Never seen a batsman develop like Virat Kohli, in my lifetime: Gopal Bose
Former Bengal batting great Gopal Bose, who was also present at the occasion also had words of praise for Kohli, who was the team manager when the Indian U-19 side under the Delhi lad won the World Cup in 2008.
Having seen Kohli grow as a batsman, Bose, while talking to SportsCrunch said, “He has really worked on his batting. Many improve their batting with experience but the question is about how quickly one can change. He was India’s best batsman at the U-19 level in 2008 and the way he has developed is amazing. I have seen many players develop but I have never seen someone do it the way Kohli has, in my lifetime.”
He went on to cite examples from the Centurion test match against South Africa where he scored a magnificent 153 in the first innings.
“On a pitch where all the batsmen were trying to figure out how to play, Kohli batted with confidence. When the other batsmen were playing the good length deliveries on the back foot, Kohli did the same on the front foot, which again goes to show his positive frame of mind. Throughout the series, he remained confident and never really was worried about the pitch,” said the prolific right-hander, who also was handy with his off-breaks.