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Virat Kohli terrific, he can go on to become a great: Sourav Ganguly

India Today logo India Today 21-10-2016
© AP Photo

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has backed Virat Kohli to finish as one of the greats in world cricket but warned that these were still early days to compare the Delhi run-machine with Sachin Tendulkar.

Kohli has been in sensational form in 2016, amassing runs across formats. He started off with a bang in Australia, hammering two hundreds and two fifties in a five-match series against the hosts before smashing three successive half-centuries.

Kohli also brought his A game to the Asia Cup and the World T20 but his moment of reckoning came during this year's Indian Premier League, where he cracked four hundreds and finished the tournament with a record-shattering 973 runs.

The 27-year-old also became the first Indian captain to score two double hundreds - his first came against the West Indies in a Test in August before the young batsman worked his way to a classy 211 against New Zealand in the Indore Test. Kohli's consistency has been a talking point in the world of cricket and many have already compared him with Tendulkar.

© AP Photo

However, Ganguly opted for commonsense instead of hyperboles and said there was still enough time for Kohli to match up to the greats.

"Kohli is terrific. Yes he has got the opportunity to be up right up there. These are still early days to compare him with Tendulkar and Dravid but he has got all all the ability and talent to be right up there. Maybe in five to six years if you ask me the same question, I will be able to give you the answer," Ganguly told an exclusive interview.

Also read: R Ashwin's rich form decoded

Ganguly, who pioneered India's fortunes in Test cricket overseas and laying the foundations for the side to race up to the top of the world, said he was happy with the way India's Test batting order has settled down over the last couple of years.

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Ask him if he sees this line-up doing what he did along with Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, he asked the young men to be given more time.

"It's not right to compare. All these names you are taking have been there for over 15 years. Let the likes of Rahane, Rahul, Kohli, Rohit, Murali Vijay play for that long and I am sure they can get lots of runs," he said.

But it's not just the batsmen, who have been making headlines for India. Ravichandran Ashwin has climbed to the top of the ICC rankings for Test bowlers and Ganguly said the best thing about the Chennai off-spinner was his massive improvement on flat pitches.

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The offie currently has 220 wickets from 39 Tests and rocked the Black Caps with 27 wickets in the three-match series. Consequently, Ashwin also picked his seventh man-of-the-series award, more than any other Indian.

Ganguly said Ashwin would continue to remain a huge asset to India in the years to come.

"Ashwin has just got better and better. In these conditions, he is terrific but the best thing about him is that his bowling has improved on flat pitches and he is going to be a huge asset to the side," he said.


Meanwhile, as media reports emerged that the BCCI has finally decided to view the Decision Review System favourably, Ganguly said if the players and officials were happy with the improved technology, it made sense to go ahead with it.

"The DRS has improved a lot. If the upmpires are happy, if the players are happy and the board are happy, why not use it," Ganguly said.

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