While commentating in the recently concluded Test series between India and South Africa, former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding had said that the India captain Virat Kohli reminds him of his Caribbean teammate one of the greatest batsmen of all time – Sir Vivian Richards. It was indeed a big compliment for Kohli to be compared with Richards.
Much to the delight of Virat and the Indian fans, Holding has once again shed light on the uncanny similarity between Indian skipper and Sir Viv. He reckons that Kohli will calm down with time as a captain and Richards was much the same when he took over the captaincy from Clive Lloyd.
"At the moment he is a young captain, who is just learning and understanding what it takes to be a captain. He is a bit exuberant and very emotional. Sometimes he gets so emotional that it is intimidating not only for the opposition, but for his players as well. When I compare Virat to Vivian Richards, it is not just in the batting but captaincy as well," Holding was quoted by PTI as saying.
"It was similar with Viv. When he took over the captaincy, it was similar. And then he grew in the job. He learnt to be a little bit calmer and then his team got calmer as well. And then the results came. I think it should be a similar learning situation with Virat," he added.
After conceding the first two Tests and subsequently the series, Virat Kohli and company made a stellar comeback in the third Test at Wanderers to register a historic 63-run victory. However, Holding was a little critical of Kohli’s chop-and-change policy throughout the series.
"You are playing in so many different conditions, in so many foreign countries, that you think that this pitch now suits this person or doesn't suit someone else. Also, in the modern game, there is so much cricket that you tend to rotate players especially bowlers and give them a bit of rest. If that is a reason why he is doing it, you can understand that. But it is unhealthy making so many changes," said Holding.
"When you go back to the great Test teams, they would change now and again, not every Test match, because then even the players are unsettled and they are not sure if they are going to play the next game or not. They might be worried that if I don't perform today, I might be out tomorrow.
"And you need settled players. You need them to think positively about their game. You need them to think I will go out there and even if I fail, I am good enough and they will give me another chance. It doesn't happen with rotation constantly, which again is unhealthy," he further elaborated.
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who has done exceptionally well in India’s overseas tours previously, was left out of the team at the expense of Rohit Sharma in Cape Town and Centurion. When asked about his move Holding said Rahane’s omission took him by surprise.
"When they left out Ajinkya Rahane I was a bit surprised. Every one is saying that he didn't have a good series against Sri Lanka, but he has an excellent record away from home. A lot of Indian batsmen struggle when they leave India, but he has not (struggled). So once you leave India that's the first thing you think of.
"Rahane has to be back in the team even though he hasn't been making runs. Look at how he played at Wanderers (second innings). His record overseas is too good. You have got to think of batsmen, when you see them play, what they will do on different surfaces," said Holding.
Kohli finished the three-match Test series against South Africa with 286 runs, the most by any batsman from both side and Holding was in all praise for the Indian captain.
"He is a top-class batsman. He is way above the rest of Indian batsmen in this team. When I think of the past Indian batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman in his team. But he wasn't that far ahead of people like Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman. He was better than them but not miles ahead," opined Holding.
"Virat is miles ahead of everybody on this Indian team but I don't think it influences his captaincy. And as soon as Virat gets some runs in England, I am happy to put the label great beside his name. At the moment I am just waiting," he concluded.