NEW DELHI: The cricketing world has been waxing lyrical in praise of Virat Kohli after he led India to a dominating 5-1 ODI series win over South Africa. After his smashed a 35th ODI ton, some are finding themselves short of adjectives to describe his superhuman efforts with India coach Ravi Shastri suggesting them to buy the latest version of oxford dictionary to praise his captain.
Few have declared him as the greatest ever ODI player while others claim Kohli has made a mockery of scoring century. Joining the chorus is former India captain and world cup winner Kris Srikkanth who says Kohli’s confidence as a batsman and as a leader is phenomenal.
In his column for TOI, Srikkanth wrote, “A 5-1 ODI series win for India was very much expected but the way in which Virat Kohli has led from the front is phenomenal. It looks like Kohli enters a cricket field only to score a century. The confidence and the positive attitude with which he goes about his business with the bat is tremendous. His appetite for scoring centuries amazes me and he seldom lets his energy levels drop, be it as a leader or as a batsman.”
Apart from Kohli, Srikkanth is also happy with the way the Indian bowlers have complemented the efforts of their batsmen. The young writs-pin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal terrorised the South Africa batsmen across six ODIs and shared 33 wickets between them. The pacers too performed admirably and in the sixth and final ODI, Shardul Thakur, playing his first match of the tour, took four wickets to set up a facile India win. “What pleased me more in the final ODI was the contribution of our young pace attack in setting up the comfortable win. The performance of pacers Jasprit Bumrah and newcomer Shardul Thakur showed that we are not only dependent on the spinners in ODIs. It is a great sign for the Indian team going forward,” he wrote.Suresh Raina, KL Rahul and pacer Jaydev Unadkat have joined the India squad for the three-match T20I series beginning in Johannesburg from Sunday. Srikkanth feels their addition will further boost the unit which is “settled and high on confidence.”South Africa have ringed in few changes for the T20Is and after a thrashing in the ODI series, they will be low on confidence but Srikkanth expects them to improve as they have a better batting unit when it comes to the shortest format. “…a relatively new-looking South Africa T20 team have little time to regroup. Psychologically their morale will be a bit low after the pasting they received at the hands of India in the ODIs.””Having said that, I expect and hope SA come back with a better performance in the T20s. I believe their batting unit is better suited to the T20 version. It was evident in the manner in which their batsmen showcased an uninhibited display of hitting against the Indian wrist spinners in the rain-truncated fourth ODI, in which they registered their only win of the series,” he wrote.AB de Villiers missed the first three ODIs on account of injury as South Africa conceded a 0-3 lead to India. On return, he scored 18-ball 26 with the hosts winning the rain-curtailed fourth ODI, underlining his importance in the team. But that was that and he failed to make an impact in the remaining two matches scoring a combined 36 in them.
His failures notwithstanding, De Villiers will continue to be South Africa’s biggest hope if they have hope to put India under pressure. “Without a doubt, AB de Villiers holds the key on the batting front if SA are to reverse the pressure on the visitors’ bowling attack, which has been exceptional throughout.
The bowling department separates both teams. India have a settled bowling unit that is firing on all cylinders. The South African bowling attack is very inexperienced and that’s where they have been behind,” Srikkanth observed.