Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar believes former India cricket captain Virat Kohli wouldn’t have managed to score so many centuries had he played in his era. Currently, Kohli sits at the second spot in a number of international centuries with 75 to his name, just behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 100.
However, Shoaib Akhtar felt that Kohli couldn’t have scored these many centuries had he played in his era when he, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis were at their peak.
“If I, Waqar (Younis) and Wasim bhai (Akram) would have been at our peak, then Virat ko mushkil bahut hoti (then Virat would have found it tough). We sledged a lot and being a Punjabi, he would have reacted. Hum usko tang bahut karte tha (we would have needled him a lot),” Akhtar said on the sidelines of Legends League Cricket in Doha.
Akhtar feels had Kohli played in the 90s, he wouldn’t have got as many hundreds because only one white ball was used during a One-day International inning and the rules on the number of fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
“If he had played in our times, then he might not have had these 70-odd hundreds, he might have scored 30-50 hundred but those hundreds would have been of a different class. We personally felt that Sunil Gavaskar was the greatest of all, especially when he played the bowlers of the 80s, they were the toughest of the bowlers to face. Gavaskar scored 34-odd hundreds then. Sachin is also great because he faced bowling of our times, with no restrictions for bowlers,” Akhtar added.
However, Akhtar had a wish for Kohli that he played as much as he can to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 international hundreds.
“I appeal to Virat to play till the age of 43 years, you have eight or nine years more. India aapko wheelchair mein bhi khilayega and they will make you reach 100-100’s. (India will make you play in a wheelchair also). I feel he will score at least 110 hundreds by the time he retires,” Akhtar said.
Kohli, after a prolonged century drought, made tons in all three formats recently. His 186 versus Australia in the final Test in Ahmedabad earlier this month was his first in the long format in over three years.
(Indian Express inputs)