Although Virat Kohli led Team India is down 2-0 in the Test series, former South Africa Makhaya Ntini keeps Kohli ahead of his Australian counterpart Steve Smith in terms of handling pressure.
Former South Africa star Makhaya Ntini feels this pressure of expectations and Kohli’s ability to handle it with aplomb is what sets him apart from the rest in the world. Even as pundits across the world debate who the best batsman in the world is between Kohli and Australia skipper Steve Smith, for Ntini it is Kohli who is ahead.
“Firstly, the fans need to let Kohli breathe. But to be honest, in a country where cricket is an obsession, Kohli shoulders the responsibility of bringing a smile to a billion faces like a true champion. At times, it almost feels like he is a run-machine and not a human. His dedication and work ethic is exemplary and the consistency with which he scores runs -- the huge level of expectation notwithstanding -- sets him apart from any player in the modern era. No denying that Smith is an equally brilliant batsman, but the Aussie skipper doesn’t have half the pressure from fans that Kohli has to face every time he marks his guard,” the 40-year-old said.
Speaking about the Indian pace attack, Ntini said that he was impressed with Jasprit Bumrah so far in the series.
“To be fair, Bumrah has just started off in the longer version. But he has impressed in limited-overs cricket and if he can get his bowling arm closer to his ear, that will make him all the more dangerous with the angle he will then create. It will make even the ball that holds its line after pitching, unplayable. I am sure he has the right people guiding him and has a bright future ahead of him,” he said.
“India might have failed to get the desired result in the Test series, but they have played an aggressive brand of cricket and that has seen the momentum shift time and again in both the Test matches – in Cape Town and Centurion. Kohli knows his game and he had the bowlers who could get him 20 wickets. The batting did disappoint and not having Ajinkya Rahane in the XI meant that the visitors missed the trick. But then, it will be a completely new chapter when the ODIs start and trust me the wounded Indians will come out all guns blazing,” concluded Ntini.