SA v IND 2018: Sourav Ganguly considers Graeme Smith's comment on Virat Kohli harsh

Smith had questioned Virat Kohli's captaincy.

Sourav Ganguly | GETTY

Sourav Ganguly has backed Indian skipper Virat Kohli after Graeme Smith's comment on him. The former India skipper said that Smith was a little harsh when he raised questions about Kohli's captaincy following India's Test series defeat to South Africa.

The former South Africa captain doubts if Kohli can persist as a captain for a long time.

"When I look at Virat, I think he needs someone in the support staff who can constructively challenge him and help him grow," Smith said. "He has all the capabilities tactically, he knows his own game, he sets the standard in the field for everyone else.

"I think if he had a really constructive person in his environment, who could talk to him, make him think, maybe even challenge him with some different ideas, in a constructive way, not an angry or aggressive way, but make him think, open his eyes to other possibilities, that would make him a really good leader," Smith added.

Ganguly didn't agree with Smith and said that Virat is young and it's still not the right time to judge him.

Graeme Smith

"I do not agree with Graeme Smith - Virat is a young captain and this is his first proper overseas tour. It's a pretty harsh statement," Ganguly told India Today. "He will learn when he goes to England and Australia in the next few months. The statement was too early from Graeme - he is a good man and He will learn when he goes to England and Australia in the next few months. The statement was too early from Graeme - he is a good man and a great captain but I do not agree with his views on Kohli."

Though Ganguly supported Kohli, he was surprised with his decision to bench Ajinkya Rahane in first two Tests at South Africa.

"Ajinkya Rahane is a must for India overseas. But India need to take a call - is it an emotional call, is it a pressure call or is it a cricketing call?," Ganguly said.

India may go with five pacers in the third Test. Wanderers offers good assistance to pacers, and that means R Ashwin may be left out of the side. But Ganguly felt Ashwin is also a must in the XI because of the balance he brought with the bat: "My XI for tomorrow would be: KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat, Rahane, Rohit, Parthiv Patel, Shami Bumrah, Bhuvi, Ashwin."

Sourav also added that Kohli and Ravi Shastri should discuss with BCCI for a better preparation of overseas matches. India's head coach Shastri had said India would have done well with 10 more days of training in South Africa. 

"It's up to Virat to sit with officials and go earlier. Even before the first match, you need to go 10 days ahead and practice. You can take a break between games like India did in South Africa and rightly so, because you need to take your mind off the game," Ganguly said.

By Sihyeu Singh - 24 Jan, 2018

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