Virat Kohli’s rise and rise in international cricket has coincided with a purple patch for Indian team. Apart from a Test series win against Sri Lanka after 22 years, India also won a T20 series in Australia and the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
India also entered the 2016 World T20 as the No. 1 side and thanks to Kohli’s unbeaten half-century, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by six wickets to notch their first points.
Indian cricket greats Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag, in an exclusive chat with NDTV, opined that the ‘Kohli era’ is here to stay.
“Yes, I think that the Virat Kohli era has dawned over the last year or so. It’s been there ever since he took over the Test captaincy and because he is now going to create a completely different niche as far as Indian cricket is concerned.
“Of course, he is not the limited overs captain but that’s not too far away and I think this era of India cricket is going to be a highly entertaining era,” Gavaskar said.
Kohli, who has scored 1,470 runs in 41 T20s, has an average of 83 while India is chasing — the best-ever figures by any T20 batsman. He also has scored 2,994 Test runs (41 matches), and 7212 ODI runs (171 matches).
Sehwag went a step forward to say that Kohli is the new Sachin Tendulkar.
“Yeah, absolutely because I said on-air that he’ll become the next Sachin Tendulkar of Indian team because when I was growing up, I watched Tendulkar. Similarly Tendulkar watched Sunil Gavaskar.
“So everyone said that Kya Tujhe Sachin Banna Hai?….Kya tujhe Gavaskar Banna hai?.. and now everyone will say that Kya tujhe Kohli Banna hai? …Sso he comes in that era now,” he said.
Both players also agreed that the maturity that Kohli has shown at such a young age is exemplary. His great record while chasing also shows his ability to become one of the greatest ever cricketers, according to Sehwag.
“If you look at all the great players and look at there averages while chasing, it proves that Kohli is No. 1 in the world. He is hungry for runs and whenever he gets out cheaply, he gets upset, throws his bat in the dressing room. It shows that he wants to contribute and wants to win matches for India,” Sehwag said.
Gavaskar added that Kohli has the gift of moulding his game according to the situation.
“Currently, the stats say that Virat is the best but I mean when you saw Viru on song you can look at the number of matches he has won for India. It’s not a question of comparing players but we have to see that when Virat finishes his career, what his winning average is going to be and I think he’ll be right up there.”
“Virat has got this great ability to be able to mould his game according to the situation. His technical adjustments are very crucial and that is the only difference between the greats and the very goods and that’s where Virat is such a great player,” Gavaskar said.