India skipper Virat Kohli has taken his game to a different level altogether in the ongoing South Africa tour. After amassing 286 runs at an average of 47.66 on some of the most difficult pitches in the recently concluded three-match Tests series, the 29-year-old scored two more ODI tons in the first three one-day internationals against the Proteas.
Seeing Virat’s recent batting prowess, former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith has heaped praise on Indian captain. Smith termed Kohli as an ‘incredible player’ and a kind of personality who holds the team together.
"Virat is an incredible player. My comments on his captaincy were constructive. I hope captaincy does not burden Virat. He will mature as a captain with time and he holds the Indian team together," Graeme Smith in an exclusive interview with India Today on the sidelines of the St. Moritz Ice Cricket Tournament.
After India’s Test series defeat in Centurion, Smith had criticized Kohli for being too animated on the field. He had also cited that Kohli is not a long-term captaincy option for India.
"I don't know, when I look at him, if he is a long-term captaincy option for India," Smith had said after the second Test.
"At the end of this year, he'd have been away from home for a while, the pressure he'll face, the scrutiny from the press - I know he only gets that in India - but if you're away from home and you're struggling for form as a team, I don't know if I'd want to burden Virat Kohli with that... Or if India have a better leader in that environment," he had added.
Since Smith’s remarks, Kohli has played two gutsy knocks in the third Test at Wanderers before dominating the ODI series. Kohli was the highest run-scorer in the Test series and was the only centurion from either side, and now his innings of 112 in Durban, 46* in Centurion and 160*in Cape Town have ensured an unassailable 3-0 lead for the visitors in the ODI series.
It is worth mentioning here that Kohli now boasts 34 hundreds in ODIs in which 20 of them have come in chase and India have emerged victorious on 18 occasions. Moreover, Virat has 21 Test tons to his name and is the only batsman in the planet who’s averaging well over 50 across all three formats.