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Virat Kohli not yet at Sachin Tendulkar's level: Barry Richards

The former South African batsman talks about the Indian mainstay.

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 25 Feb 2015, 12:34 IST
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Virat Kohli is the standout batsman in the current Indian side, says Barry Richards

With India’s Virat Kohli undoubtedly having been one of the leading batsmen in the world across all formats over the last 2-3 years, comparisons with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who dominated world cricket for a majority of his 24 years as an international cricketer, have been inevitable. Former South African great Barry Richards, however, has insisted that Kohli still has quite some way to go before he can be compared to the illustrious Mumbaikar.

"When Tendulkar batted, you could sense that his peripheral vision works. He could play in that entire arc between gully and square-leg, such was his range. If needed, he could meet the ball early with a front foot stride even on fastest of pitches. In case of Kohli, I find him as someone, who plays very close to his body. He lets the ball come into him," he said.

"Tendulkar's range of strokes was extraordinary, which Kohli still has some way to go," he added.

Richards, though, had no hesitation in declaring Kohli as the best batsman in the current Indian team, adding that he is the type of player he would have no issue paying to watch.  

"Virat Kohli undoubtedly is the best batsman in this current Indian team by a distance. He is really talented and is someone, whom you will like to pay to watch his batting,” Richards said.

“He is in a league of his own. You like the way he builds an innings. The hallmark of a good batsman is to control the pace of his innings and Kohli does it with ease. He will definitely get better," he added.

When asked whether batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane pose any challenge to the tag of being the standout batsman in the side, he said: “No way (he shrugged). They are not even close to Kohli.”

Steyn is the best fast bowler in the world: Richards

The Durban-born cricketer also said that Dale Steyn, his countryman, is the best fast bowler in the world at the moment and felt that there has been a reduction in the quality of fast bowling over the years.

"Among the current crop of fast bowlers, obviously Dale (Steyn) is a cut above the rest. He has all the qualities of a great fast bowler and he has been consistent over a period of time. In general, the quality has taken a hit although there are some good bowlers still.

"But, yes, you had the great West Indies quicks, there was Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan during that era. And don't forget, there was our very own South African pacer Garth Le Roux. Boy he was quick during that Packer Series," he concluded.

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