Virat Kohli is considered a modern-day great but Sanjay Manjrekar feels the prolific run-scorer is already among the all-time Indian legends in the sport.
In just 10 years since his debut for India, Kohli has already broken several world records in all formats of the game.
Talking about the Indian captain, Manjrekar said that Indian cricket has been fortunate to be blessed with great cricketers across generations.
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“Even among Indian greats now, he’s finding a special place. It’s amazing. You talk about dirty Varanasi waters, but Indian waters keep producing these kind of phenomenal batting talents, year after year, generation after generation.
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“Sunil Gavaskar quit in 1987. We had Tendulkar two years later, in 1989. And as he was winding up his long career, here comes Virat Kohli,” Manjrekar said when asked to rate Kohli as a batsman at the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.
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Earlier this week, Kohli became the No.1 ranked Test batsman in the ICC rankings for batsmen, after his 149 and 51 in the first Test at Edgbaston kept India alive for the most part in a 31-run loss against England.
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Kohli waged a lone battle in that game as he saw all the other Indian batsmen fail against the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran in seaming conditions.
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Kohli had only managed 134 in five Tests on his previous tour to England in 2014 but the 29-year-old put that behind him to score 200 runs alone in Birmingham last week while the rest of the team managed the remaining 236 runs in both innings.
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“Where I find him different from other batting greats is his self-belief, his self-confidence. I remember he averaged 13 (13.4) the last time he was year in England. The very next Test match was in Adelaide, and he walked out like he was king of Adelaide.
“His self-confidence doesn’t dip, it takes a lot for that to take a beating. That makes him special. The other thing is his fitness. I think he’s the fittest, greatest batsman,” Manjrekar stated.
Even Jason Roy, who was present in the debate with Manjrekar, ICC CEO David Richardson and broadcaster Mark Nicholas, couldn’t help but praise Kohli even though he said England are not afraid of the Indian great and the team has to find ways of getting him out in the remaining four Tests.
“Not scared of him, no. He’s obviously a great player, and rightly so, you’ve given him such kind words. He’s an extremely good athlete, an imposing batsman, an imposing figure on the field. We’ve got to find ways of dismantling him somehow, so we can’t give him too much praise right here,” Roy said.
News credit : Indiatoday