Sir Richard Hadlee was all praise for Virat Kohli ahead of the World Test Championship final. The Blackcaps legend praised the Indian skipper’s passion and commitment to the game, with Hadlee mindful of the intense pressure on Virat Kohli’s shoulders whenever he steps out onto the field.
Virat Kohli will next be in action on June 18, when India take on New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship Final at Southampton. As Virat Kohli yet to deliver an ICC trophy during his tenure as skipper, pressure is high on the batsman to win in England.
The former Blackcaps cricketer spoke to the Times of India in an exclusive interview, where he was asked to share his opinion on the Indian skipper.
“I see Virat as being a very passionate and competitive cricketer with a strong desire for himself and the team to succeed. He is a proud man and a world-class player - a delight to watch. The pressure and expectations on him to 'win' is enormous. Millions idolize him, which puts great pressure on him,” said Hadlee.
Virat Kohli’s passion is there for everyone to see. The Indian skipper rarely hides his emotions and wears his heart on his sleeve whenever he is out on the field.
Richard Hadlee was asked whether he endorses Virat Kohli’s brand of aggressive cricket, and the iconic fast bowler admitted he likes to see players express themselves freely on the field.
“All sports at the highest level are about competing. It is finding a way to win a game and gain an advantage over one's opponent. There will always be a fine line as to whether gamesmanship from a player or a team goes too far. I quite like seeing any player expressing himself towards the opposition by having a real presence - it is a form of intimidation that can be unsettling,” mentioned Hadlee.
“Cricket needs India” – Richard Hadlee praises Virat Kohli and Co.
Richard Hadlee also reserved special praise for Indian cricket, conceding international cricket would have been a different ball game without the country’s efforts.
He also applauded India for giving due importance to Test cricket and making people fall in love with the game once again.
"There is no doubt India produces a lot of revenue for cricket. Without India, the face of world cricket would be very different, therefore cricket needs India. But India has also made an outstanding contribution to Test cricket – like in all formats. Their Test performances in Australia were outstanding despite that 36 all-out blip. They bounced back superbly, and Test cricket came alive again. Their performances in Australia were a remarkable achievement especially with so many youngsters having to come into the team and perform. It showed the great depth of talented players India have in all formats of the game,” Hadlee concluded.
India’s strength in depth would be on show once again in the coming few months, with two separate teams playing at the same time in different parts of the world.
While the Test side play the WTC Final and the Test series against England, a specialist white-ball side will tour Sri Lanka for a limited-overs series in July.