Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that Virat Kohli can be clubbed in the same pedigree as the famed batting quarter of Sachin Tendulkar,Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag. Kohli has been at the forefront of the Indian team’s revival following two straight losses in the Test series, starting with scores of 54 and 41 on a treacherous Wanderers wicket in the final Test which India won, followed by innings of 112, 46* and 160* to help India gain a 3-0 lead in the best-of-six-ODI contest.
In his column for TOI, Ganguly highlighted Kohli’s energy and intensity in every innings as remarkable. “It has been a superb performance from India. To see them 3-0 up in a six-match ODI series in South Africa, especially after losing the Test series, speaks volumes of the character shown by Virat Kohli and his boys,” wrote Ganguly, who played 311 ODIs and 113 Tests. “I have been fortunate enough to play with and against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Ricky Ponting, and Brian Lara, and this man is right up there with all of them. What stands out for me is not just his amazing control and his ability to adjust but also the energy and intensity he brings to his batting in each and every innings.”
“To get to 34 ODI centuries so quickly in his career is just out of the world. The fact that no other Indian batsman has touched a three-figure mark so far on this tour and only one South African has got a century shows what quality of batsmanship Kohli has displayed on this trip. And we still have a while to go!,” he added.
Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 ICC World Cup in South Africa, also heaped praise on the wrist-spinning pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who like Kohli have had a profound impact for India. “What has been equally commendable is the way Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have bowled. To get 21 out of 30 wickets [sic: 28] in three matches says much, not just about the number but also about the psychological effect the spin duo is having on the South African batting line-up. What is even more satisfying is that this performance has come on pitches that have not offered much turn,” he wrote.