Ex-Pakistan skipper Salman Butt feels the plaudits that Virat Kohli received from India head coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday were 'very well-deserved' for the country's Test skipper.
Dravid lauded India's red-ball captain Kohli ahead of the second Test against South Africa, which began earlier today (Monday, January 3). During the pre-match press conference, the former India captain conceded that Kohli has always kept the team's morale high.
Dravid also credited Kohli for connecting with the team on and off the field and expressed his pleasure in working with someone like him.
Agreeing with the India coach's sentiments, Salman Butt also praised Kohli. During a live session on his YouTube channel - 'Salman Butt', the former Pakistani opener commended the Indian captain for his attitude and said:
"Virat Kohli is not just a brilliant player but with the intensity he leads his side, it definitely uplifts the team and creates a positive vibe. His attitude is superb. I think the praise on Kohli by Dravid is very well deserved."
Apart from applauding the flamboyant batter, Butt also heaped praise on head coach Rahul Dravid for backing his skipper and keeping all the outside noise away. While referring to Chetan Sharma's statement on Virat Kohli, Butt said:
"This is what we call man management. This is what coaches' roles are at this level. Rahul Dravid did a fantastic job. He said despite what is going on around him, I will praise my skipper and I am working with a great player. Dravid has gathered his side together to keep them in the same direction. He didn't join what the BCCI's chief selector told (referring to Chetan Sharma's comments on Kohli). This is the kind of person you want around your team. And he wonderfully handled the situation."
Chetan Sharma, on Friday, backed BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and contradicted with Kohli statement’s, saying he was asked to wait before announcing his decision to quit as T20I captain. The incident put the BCCI under the scanner for not handling the situation in the right manner.
"Won't be surprised if Shreyas Iyer replaces Pujara for the 2nd Test" - Salman Butt
Butt also opined that he'd not be amazed if India choose to replace underperforming Cheteshwar Pujara with in-form Shreyas Iyer for the second Test in Johannesburg.
Pujara, who marked his last Test century exactly three years ago (January 3, 2019), has struggled with his form for some time now. Much to his disarray, he scored a golden duck in the first innings of the Centurion Test and got out on a poor delivery in the second.
While suggesting a 'breather' for the No.3 batter, Butt acknowledged that Pujara might get another go because of his vast experience.
"The kind of a player Pujara is, he is not getting the required output. He is out of form at the moment. At times, when you get a breather, you recover a bit quickly. He has got many chances. Possibly he gets another (chance) one tomorrow. And I feel that he well get another lifeline, Kohli usually don't change his team too much. Moreover, India won the last game and would need some experience campaigners," Butt said.
He added that India should bank on Iyer's batting form and should not bench the Mumbai-born batter. Butt concluded:
"But I won't be surprised if Shreyas replaces Pujara tomorrow, just because Iyer is an in-form player. And a team should not bench an in-form player and utilise his form. However it depends on what the Indian captain and the management thinks."
Pujara retained his spot as Kohli had to sit out due to an upper back spasm. Vihari replaced the India Test skipper in the XI while KL Rahul took over the captaincy reigns.