Kohli simply the best: Dilip Vengsarkar
Shane Warne, who many consider to be the greatest leg-spinner, while comparing the genius of Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, had said: “If I want someone to score a hundred on the final day of the Test series, I would send Lara. But if I want someone to bat for my life day in, day out, I would send Sachin, he was a class act.”
Debates on who’s the best of different eras have always extracted such interesting opinions, be it from the pundits or the layman.
The one that dominates discussions currently is about Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. Who’s better?
Dilip Vengsarkar though doesn’t hesitate to pick his favourite when asked about the two modern-day greats.
“Well, like Kohli, Smith is also a great player. But he is basically an accumulator of runs. Whereas I am ready to go miles to watch Kohli bat. He is simply the best in the business at the moment,” Vengsarkar, a former India captain and chairman of selectors, told The Telegraph on Friday.
For the record, Kohli now has 7054 runs from 138 innings while Smith has got 6973 from 124 innings.
It was Vengsarkar who played the catalyst’s role when he fast-forwarded a young Kohli into the national team. His expert eyes didn’t miss the spark in the talented Delhi batsman. “That was almost 11 years ago,” Vengsarkar said.
“He has come a long way from that time, he is much more experienced now. The way he has evolved, the way he has improved himself, it is phenomenal. He has become a role model for all cricketers in the world, not just in India. And that is really praiseworthy,” the ‘Colonel’ said.
Kohli exhibits an immense amount of mental strength to deal with various situations and at the same time, is a technically sound batsman. Which one helps him the most in making bagful of runs and records?
“Both the things are important. I would also say that physical fitness as well as mental strength are extremely important for a cricketer. You know, every cricketer has some technique. But how he performs, depends a lot on his physical and mental fitness.
“Kohli has plenty of both. He has worked hard for it. At the end of the day, all that make him the best batsman in the world,” was how Vengsarkar explained it.
At times, it is said that the likes of Kohli don’t face as tough a test as the bowlers would pose in the earlier eras. In other words, the quality of bowling has declined and that has made the job of batsmen easier.
Vengsarkar, however, disagreed. “It would be quite unfair to think on those lines. After all, it’s Test cricket and when you play Test cricket, you need a lot of patience, irrespective of who’s bowling. The way Kohli has nurtured his batting, it is really outstanding,” he said.
About Kohli’s Friday masterpiece, Vengsarkar said: “It was a tremendous effort from him, a marvellous innings. The way he dominated the bowlers, it was simply outstanding. The way he batted also spoke about his extraordinary fitness level.”
Interestingly, Kohli overtook both Vengsarkar and Smith in Test runs’ tally during the course of his double century in Pune.