Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes that Virat Kohli is very similar to Sourav Ganguly when it comes to backing youngsters in the team, saying the duo has the same aura.
Pointing out how Rishabh Pant has got the backing of Kohli despite his struggles in international cricket, Pathan said U-19 cricketers need to evolve constantly and be mentally strong to make a successful switch from the junior level to the senior level.
Pathan told Star Sports' Cricket Connected show: “He is very similar to Sourav Ganguly as well. A guy who backs his youngsters really, really well. Virat Kohli has that aura about him, that he goes out of his way to back the youngsters. We have seen that with Rishabh Pant, we have seen the press conferences, he goes and says, 'No, we need to back a guy like Rishabh Pant purely on his potential'.”
He further added, “We have seen so many Under-19 India players who vanish after playing the U-19 World Cup. They don't end up fulfilling their potential at the international level which they might have. Also, we have so many cricketers playing the U-19 World Cup and then going on to play for India. In between, there is a bridge which is first-class cricket.
I think we need to make sure that you have the right mentality to reach at the bigger level, at the same time, making your game bigger, I think that's the biggest challenge any cricketer faces who plays U-19. At the U-19, you need to make sure that you strive to get better as a cricketer.”
Pathan signed off by saying, “The competition level isn't the same at the U-19 level, first-class level and at the international level. You need to keep changing your cricketing ability, but at the same time, your mentality as well which is very, very important.”
(With India Today Inputs)