Sourav Ganguly : Virat Kohli lucky to have had 13 straight Tests at home

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Sourav Ganguly : Virat Kohli lucky to have had 13 straight Tests at home

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SportsCafe Desk

04/01/2017

Sourav Ganguly believes that Virat Kohli should consider himself and his team lucky for having played 13 Tests at home in a season. However, Ganguly did acknowledge that the Indian team have elevated the game to new heights, as compared to the previous ones for their hunger for success.

In a column for the ICC, Sourav Ganguly said that he does not remember any captain, apart from Kohli, who had the opportunity to play 13 home Tests in a single season.

“Virat will consider himself lucky as I don’t recall any Indian captain and his team having an opportunity to play as many as 13 Tests at home in a single season,” The Hindustan Times reported Ganguly as saying.

Ganguly added that even though he always knew that Kohli and Co. would do well he said that India has exceeded his expectations. “You still have to win a game, even at home, but we all knew India would win at least eight Tests, and they won as many as 10, missing out on a sure win in one, saving one and losing one.”

In the 13 Tests at home, India were denied a victory on only three occasions - a loss and draw to Australia and a draw against England. The former Indian skipper believes that this Indian team has raised the standards of the game with their performances.

“Having watched the last 13 home Tests, I hope Virat and his team really has the potential to win anywhere — in or outside India,” he added.

Ganguly also reserved special praise for Indian pacers Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for their role in India’s victory at Dharamsala stating that the Indian pace attack helped India beat Australia in conditions that were tailor made for the visitors.

"I was sitting at home around lunchtime on Day three when Australia began its second innings. Over the next hour or so, I watched such great fast and hostile bowling by Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The way they got the Australians hopping and succumbing to the pace, I am so pleased for Virat. The most memorable win came in conditions actually tailor-made for the Australians more than the Indians," Ganguly said.

"The fact that India beat the Aussies at their game will surely give another twist to Virat’s captaincy. Umesh is so confident. He knows what he’s doing and credit to Virat for making Umesh realize what he can do. When India travel to South Africa this year and to England and Australia the next Virat will need his pacers to be fit and strong. If he can get a good third fast bowler, behind Umesh and Mohammed Shami, India will be a threatening side.”

Ganguly also pinpointed India’s loss in the Galle Test in August 2015 as the catalyst for the resurgent run in Tests. India lost the first Test against Sri Lanka in 2015 by 63 runs but since then have won 16 matches and lost just one.

“I think the trigger happened sometime in August 2015 when, from a seemingly unassailable position, India slipped and lost the Galle Test. For a young captain and an equally young team, it was heartbreak and I was actually worried for Virat Kohli. But I was wrong. Like any good leader, Virat sensed the problem, spoke to his team and what has followed since has reinforced my belief in him and his team,” Ganguly explained.

“When I was the captain, and with such a brilliant team, we all knew winning abroad would make our cricket memorable for the fans. Our overseas success was due to these three factors, and in that order only: bowling, batting, slip catching. I can see the same level of hunger in this team and this is the legacy of this home season."

"The captain is more passionate and more of a leader than anything else. He wants to win and win every day, and while it may not be possible always, I see Virat not settling for anything that isn’t No 1.”

Ganguly saluted Kohli’s courage as a captain and his willingness to take on the opposition.

“Why do I salute him the most? During the England series and in the Kolkata Test against New Zealand, I spoke at length with Virat and not once did he ask me or the curator for any alterations to the pitch. He was just willing to take on the opposition, no matter how the conditions were," Ganguly concluded.

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