Every match-winning knock that comes off Virat’s blade is elevating his stature these days. The India Test skipper’s scorching form, which has seen him slam 1200 runs in 16 Tests this year at an average of 80.00, including three double hundreds in back-to-back series, has made his numerous fans believe that the 28-year-old may just be the best batsman India has ever produced.
Though he himself is now a member of the ‘Kohli fan club’, England opening great-turned commentator Geoff Boycott has offered a ‘reality check’ for the die-hard supporters of the batsman. The 76-year-old believes that ‘Kohli mania’ is also a by-product of human tendency to be prisoners of the moment.
“We’re all human. What we see on TV, we think that it’s the best ever. Is Kohli better than (Sunil) Gavaskar? Hang on. The kid’s going to be a great player. But Gavaskar and (Sachin) Tendulkar were great players too. It’s easy to say ‘long live the king.’ ‘The king is dead.’ That’s what happens to us all. We’re all: ‘Was that Tendulkar, did he really play and get a 100 hundreds?’ ‘Was he really better than Kohli?’ We focus on what we see because we’re human,” Boycott said while speaking at a Rotary club of Bombay Midtown meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday (December 14).
The 108-Test veteran, who scored 8114 runs, felt Kohli’s standing among the greats of the game would only be judged by the end of his career. “He won’t break all records. And it won’t matter even if he does. It won’t make him a better player than those of the past. I broke Gary Sobers’s record of most number of runs in Delhi. That doesn’t make me a better batsman than him. What (Kohli) has to do is carry on scoring runs and winning a Test match for his country. And then towards the end of his career, he’ll be judged in the pantheon of all the greats. I’m proud for instance that England have never lost a Test when I’ve made a hundred. Simple. Don’t get me out twice cheaply, you won’t win, simple,” he explained.
Boycott said Kohli had to focus on creating his own ‘legacy’. “He has to carry on that form in India and abroad too. He’ll get a chance to put that right when he comes to England in two years’ time. He’s got hundreds in Australia and South Africa,” he stressed.
The secret of Kohli’s success, Boycott believes is the amount of training hours the Delhi batsman puts in before a series or a game. “It isn’t easy when the guy is practising, working his socks off. It’s one of the many things I like about Kohli. I hear from many ex-India players that he trained hard to get to where he is,” he said.
England’s capitulation here has left Boycott a bit surprised. “You got to remember that we all grow up in our country and are good in our conditions. What makes great players and team is being ability to play everywhere. You got England players who can’t tour, can’t play spin, couldn’t play Mitchell Johnson’s pace in Australia. It’s a different test of your technique,” he said.