It's too early to compare Virat Kohli and company with past Indian greats, says Sourav Ganguly

Ganguly feels longevity is a very important aspect while judging a player and a team.

Ganguly feels Kohli's aggression has rubbed off on the entire team | BCCI

Team India’s spectacular showing during the recently concluded South Africa tour has become the talk of the town lately.  After losing the first two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion, Virat Kohli’s troops bounced back emphatically to register a historic 63-run victory in the third and final Test at Wanderers. From then on, India’s winning juggernaut didn’t stop as they secured both the limited-overs series with utmost ease.

While the Men in Blue clinched the six-match one-day international series with a stunning margin of 5-1, they won the three-match ODI series 2-1. No wonder, the whole cricket fraternity is showering praise on Virat Kohli and company with all sorts of adjectives.

Amidst all the much-deserved accolades, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has said that the current crop of players have a long way to go before they can be compared with the past Indian greats.

“It is very difficult to compare generations. But every generation in Indian cricket has produced a champion, (Sunil) Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, (Sachin) Tendulkar. I think Kohli is the one in this generation. This generation should be compared seven to eight years down the line because we became a Ganguly or Dravid or Tendulkar after playing for 15 years,” Ganguly quoted by CNN-News18 as saying.

“Virat Kohli being the senior-most with Dhoni with 10 years or 11 years but the other boys whether its (Ajinkya) Rahane or Rohit (Sharma) or Murali Vijay have four or five seasons. I would give a little more time and see where they finish and then compare the generation.

“But what my generation signifies is that he had player’s Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly, Harbhajan, Kumble all those during that period played more than 100 Test matches which is a sign they were bloody good. Longevity at level for a long period of time is a yards take to show how good you are. Once these boys get close it will be easier to compare,” he explained.

Kohli was undoubtedly the stand-out performer for India during their 58-day long trip to South Africa. After amassing 286 runs on some of the most difficult pitches in the Test series, the Indian captain piled up three more one-day international tons in the subsequent ODI series. He also became the first batsman in the history of cricket to amass more than 500 runs in a bilateral ODI series. Virat finished the ODI series with 558 runs to his name.

Seeing the way Kohli led the team from the front, Ganguly opined that the Indian captain’s aggression rubbed off on the other players. The ‘Prince of Kolkata’ further added that India is fortunate to have the likes of Virat and Dhoni.

“I think Dhoni and Kohli are different personalities. Kohli was very expressive, and so was I. But Kohli has probably taken it one step further. I have to find out to whom he shows that fist to every time a wicket falls. Dhoni was calm, that doesn’t take the nervousness or pressure away from anyone. For Virat Kohli, it’s his way of taking pressure away from everyone, and it was same for me. For Dhoni, it was to absorb. So every captain is different and I think India is very fortunate to have Dhoni and Virat Kohli,” Dada said.

“Virat is also in the form of his life, I think the way he’s played, he’s the best player in the world at the moment, and when I see Virat on the field, I see a lot of honesty, it’s like you get what you see with him, everything is there and also he’s a class player. So I have tremendous regard for him and tremendous faith in him that he’s going to take Indian Cricket to the next level,” he elaborated.

The 45-year-old Ganguly, who recently released his autobiography titled ‘A Century is Not Enough’, concluded by talking about the best performance of his illustrious cricketing career. The 45-year-old said the ODI series against Pakistan in 1997 was vital for him as it helped seal his place in the national squad.

“That was very pivotal. It was 1997, and we were facing Pakistan. During everyone’s playing career, an India-Pakistan game or series was the series to get noticed. Sachin was captain and we won 4-1, and I won four Man-of-the-Match awards in a row, either contributing with the bat or the ball,” Ganguly recalled.

“So, I established myself as a match winner in the side, so I proved to the side that I could win them games. So I think that’s very important at that very young age, I think I was just a year into international cricket, maybe a year and a half, and then for the captain to turn and say that I am a match winner was very, very satisfying,” he signed-off.


By Salman Anjum - 04 Mar, 2018

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