Dismissing all the talks around his form with the blade, former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels it doesn’t matter how many runs Virat Kohli will score, he will always be judged by the impression he leaves on Indian cricket in future. Kohli’s form has been the talk of the town from the moment he has stepped on to the English soil. Many experts and critics see England as Kohli’s final frontier where he needs to prove himself to be counted among the legends of the sport.
The 46-year old Ganguly, who was rated by many as one of the greatest Indian captains of all times rates Kohli highly both as a batsman and as a captain. During a recent interview to Cricbuzz, Ganguly stressed on the fact that Kohli will be remembered more in his capacity as a captain than as a world-conquering batsman.
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“Virat Kohli will not be judged just by the runs he scores. That’ll remain, he will keep scoring runs till the time he plays because he’s a very good player. But for me, Virat Kohli will be judged by how he takes Indian cricket with him. And that’s very, very important. Hope he has the right people around him, to guide him and make sure that life becomes a little easy for him.”
“Because it’s going to get harder. With overseas trips, the longer he spends as captain, his form – up and down – so it’s only going to get harder. So hopefully he has people around him who help him and guides him. And that will be his legacy – where he leaves Indian cricket as a captain,” Ganguly explained.
Under Kohli’s leadership, Team India had a sensational run in 2017 as they registered 37 wins across all formats in 53 matches, the highest-ever for the country. On their tour to England so far, the men in blue had registered a 2-1 win in three-match T20 series before and losing the ODI rubber 1-2. The ODI series loss was India’s first-ever defeat in a 50-over bilateral series under Kohli.
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Ganguly also lauded Kohli for developing the new fitness culture in the team and believes the captain has himself raised the standards by his dedication and hard work.
“I think he’s trying to do something different. Get the boys fit, get the boys tough. I see a change in Umesh Yadav, see his bowling. You have to have fast bowling to win away from home.
That’s a good landmark that he’s set up, it’s not the only landmark but it’s important that you pass that. He’s got the goals for his team, he works hard himself and I think he’s on the right track,” the Bengal-born southpaw added.
England have always proved to a tough challenge for the Indian team and Ganguly believes Kohli will have to inspire his team to play out of their skin to register a series win in challenging conditions.
“To be honest, we did well overseas in ’86, we didn’t do well after that. We did well from 2000 to 2008 – my captaincy, Rahul’s captaincy, Dhoni’s trip to New Zealand – and then we dropped off. From 2009 to 2018, I don’t think we should be proud enough to say that we’ve gone to England, we’ve gone to Australia, we’ve gone to South Africa and won Test series, we haven’t. And I think he’s trying to do something different. Get the boys fit, get the boys tough,” Ganguly also added.
Speaking about India’s fast bowling resources, the former captain said, “I see a change in Umesh Yadav, see his bowling. You have to have fast bowling to win away from home. That’s a good landmark that he’s set up, it’s not the only landmark but it’s important that you pass that. He’s got the goals for his team, he works hard himself and I think he’s on the right track. Only time will tell whether he finishes as a successful captain or not.”