Former Australia captain Greg Chappell is confident that Virat Kohli will make it big in the first Test against Australia before heading home. The four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy begins with a pink-ball game at the Adelaide Oval on December 17.
Virat Kohli is supposed to fly back to India following the conclusion of the opening Test to attend the birth of his first child. In his column for ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, Chappell wrote highly of the Indian captain and mentioned that Kohli would want his team to ride the momentum he sets in the first match.
“While entirely understandable, it is a shame for this contest that Kohli will go home for the birth of his first child after the Adelaide Test...Kohli is an intensely driven man. He will want his team to reiterate their supremacy, and I expect something exceptional from him before he goes,” Greg Chappell, who coached the Indian team from 2005 to 2007, wrote.
Chappell heaped praise on Virat Kohli for prioritising the Test format despite being one of the all-time greats in white-ball cricket. Notably, the 32-year-old became the first Asian skipper to win a Test series Down Under when India beat the Aussies 2-1 in 2018-19.
“The fact that Kohli champions Test cricket is a huge plus for a format under pressure for time and space in a crowded schedule...Test cricket has always been the pinnacle for him and it has driven him to be fitter and stronger to cope with its demands," he added.
“It is why he drives his team in these areas because he wants India to be respected in the most demanding format. If the captain of India is ambivalent towards Test cricket, some administrators would be happy for it to slide into ignominy, as they are seduced by the newer, shinier models,” Chappell reasoned.
Virat Kohli has not only won the most Test matches (33) among all Indian captains but he also boasts of the highest win percentage of 60 in the history of Indian cricket.
‘Sir Vivian would be proud to have played some of the innings that Virat Kohli has played,’ reckons Chappell
Virat Kohli went through one of the lowest phases in his career when he could manage a meagre 134 runs across five away Test matches against England in 2014. Writing about that sorrow trip, Greg Chappell threw light on the role of former India player Lalchand Rajput on Kohli’s career.
“On his return to India, Kohli turned to Rajput for help. They spent 14 days together, working on getting into better positions to deal with the best deliveries. Tendulkar also offered some cogent inputs on batting against top bowlers," Chappell said.
“During one of these sessions, Rajput told Kohli that he could be a similar player to Viv Richards. Kohli wasn’t convinced. ‘No sir,’ he said, ‘he is too great for me.’ It is now looking like a prescient statement. Sir Vivian would be proud to have played some of the innings that Kohli has played in the intervening years,” Chappell concluded.
Sir Vivian Richards scored 15,261 runs at an average of 48.75 from 121 Tests and 187 ODIs. And Virat Kohli has already moved way above him, having scored 22,208 runs at an average of 56.08 across 86 Tests, 251 ODIs and 84 T20Is.