India skipper Virat Kohli has taken his batting feats to a different level altogether in 2018. Despite playing the majority of Test matches outside Asia, Kohli is averaging 59.05 in red-ball cricket with over 1000 runs this year, while his ODI average read 133.55 in 14 matches in this calendar year.
Seeing his batting and leadership prowess in recent times, legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara has termed Kohli as the leader of contemporary cricket.
“Whatever Kohli is doing today is phenomenal. The rate of scoring, his fitness, and the importance he gives to a lot of different things. It is great to see that the game has a leader at this moment,” Lara told PTI on Saturday.
He refused to comment on the Kohli-Sachin Tendulkar “who is better” debate. Lara mentioned how he and Tendulkar never bothered about comparisons.
“If you talk about Sachin and me – you read a lot about it and you hear about the comparisons and it was not a significant thing (for us),” Lara said. “I am sure Kohli also does not pay much attention to these things. I think everyone gets it wrong. Everyone grows up in a different era and you have to appreciate what anyone brings to the table,” he added.
Lara feels nobody should pass a judgment on great players since each one of them brought different styles to the game.
“In my era, you had (Rahul) Dravid, (Sachin)Tendulkar, (Jacques) Kallis, myself and Ricky Ponting – all of us brought something different to the table. How can any of us sit down here and say that somebody is better than Viv Richards, or Sir Garfield Sobers, or any of those great players?” he asked. “We just appreciate the career they have had and move on.”
Tendulkar and Lara might have fought for the No. 1 batting spot during their playing days, but they always shared a healthy rapport off the field. Recently, Lara paid a surprise visit to Tendulkar’s house where both the batting giants talked about the modern-day game.
“I paid a surprise visit to Sachin’s house. We not only spoke about golf, but also a lot on cricket. We spoke about the great fast bowlers like Curtly Ambrose. “During the conversation, I felt, he was disappointed with the present state of affairs in West Indies cricket, whose players are more interested in franchise cricket than playing international games,” Lara recalled his discussions with Tendulkar.
He feels the quality of coaching is also affecting West Indies cricket badly.
“Let me explain, when Malcolm Marshall came into the scene, he was guided by Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner. These greats would have passed on their knowledge.”
“Likewise, when I came into the scene, Viv, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Gus Logie were the guys from whom you could learn a lot. And, I am just wondering about coaching. Whatever they teach now is mechanical. Our bowlers are not bowling freely compared to earlier generations. May be that is a hindrance,” Lara concluded.
(With PTI inputs)