Even though he has already established himself as a dependable batsman in ODIs and T20Is, Virat Kohli’s exploits at the Test arena have not matched up to his potential yet. With India currently engaged in a home season where the emphasis will be on the sport’s traditional format, the skipper has been backed to take his game to the next level by a man who knows a thing or two about batting in Tests.
Upon delivering the Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture in Mumbai, VVS Laxman hailed Kohli’s adaptability across all formats and expressed confidence that the 27-year old’s stocks at the Test level will soon skyrocket as well.
Laxman felt, “The reason I mentioned a lot of Virat is because he knows his strengths and backs them. He is a conventional cricketer and has got strong basis. If you have to perform consistently in all the three formats, you should have strong basics which Virat has. I feel Virat has a long way to go in Test match cricket and he will break all records. His average will be close to where his average currently is in ODIs and T20s. Virat is a complete batsman in this generation.”
From 46 Tests, Kohli has scored 3272 runs at an average of 44.21 with 12 centuries which might look adequate when considering that he has played 28 of those matches away from home while pitches in India have also favored spin bowling massively. However, his remarkable record in ODIs wherein 171 games have yielded him more than 7000 runs at an average of 51.51 including 25 tons and 1657 runs from 45 T20Is at an average of 57.13 indicates that he has set the bar considerably higher.
However, his captaincy has started off on a high with eight victories and just two defeats from 15 Tests. Laxman also hoped that KL Rahul will follow in Kohli’s footsteps and become a reliable player across all the three formats.
The stylish Hyderabadi asserted, “KL Rahul has transformed himself into a good T20 player and I believe that Virat has a huge influence on the transformation of Rahul. Rahul knows how to get runs in all three formats by playing in his normal, conventional, classical style.”
When the conversation veered towards India’s mainstay Ravichandran Ashwin, he pointed to the Tamil Nadu all rounder’s sharp intellect and a willingness to keep improving constantly as his biggest strengths.
Laxman believed, “(Ashwin is) one of the best, without a doubt. For me, any great bowler or a great batsman or great cricketer is when you win matches for your team and Ashwin has just done that in the last four years. He has won a lot of matches and some of them single-handedly. You have to always look to evolve, never stagnate as a player and always look to improve. That is another aspect of being a great player and that is what Ashwin has done from the first Test he has played. He is a thinking cricketer and a match-winner for me and I always respect match-winners.”