Sourav Ganguly has stated that Virat Kohli’s captaincy record for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL and for India in international cricket should not be compared. Kohli has a fine record while leading India whereas RCB have qualified for playoffs only once since 2013.
Virat Kohli has a phenomenal win percentage of 56.52 percentage in 46 Tests, the highest for an Indian among those who have at least captained in five games. In ODIs too, his win percentage stands at 73 in 68 games. However, he has only won 49 out of 110 games for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. His franchise finished last on the points table this season, similar to the 2017 season, and at sixth position in the previous season. Sourav Ganguly felt that the Indian skipper’s record in the cash rich league won’t matter much as he will have the support of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni, the skippers of the two most successful franchises in IPL, with respect to India colours.
"Don't compare Virat Kohli's IPL captaincy record with that of India. His captaincy records for India is very good actually. He's got him [Rohit] in his team as the vice-captain. Dhoni is there. So he's well supported," he said on the sidelines of a promotional event, reported PTI.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya had a phenomenal run in the franchise based tournament as he blasted 402 runs at a strike rate of 191.42 while also picking 14 wickets, in 16 matches. Ganguly feels that the Baroda player will be a crucial player for India at the World Cup in England and Wales, starting May 30.
"Hardik Pandya will play a key role. He is in tremendous form. He will be very, very important for India's chances,” he said.
India will face Pakistan in a group stage match of the quadrennial event on June 16 at the Old Trafford. It will not be a easy match as the same team had defeated India by 180 runs Champions Trophy 2017 finals at the Oval. Barring that match, India had an edge over Pakistan as they have always defeated their neighbours in ICC tournaments. However, the former Indian skipper dismissed all talks of such records and believes that the team who plays better on that day will win.
"Pakistan's record in world tournaments in England is remarkable. They won the Champions Trophy two years ago, they won the 2009 World T20 in England,” the 46-year-old said.
“I don't believe in records. Both of them will have to play well on that particular day. India will be a very good side. They will be very hard to beat. Team which has the likes of Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan can't be weak,” he added.
In the 2003 World Cup, Ganguly lead the Indian team to the finals, only to be defeated by Australia. When asked to compare both the teams, he said, "Both the teams are of different generations. We played the final in 2003. I hope they play the final and win it. Indian cricket is so strong. And we have been strong for the last 25-30 years. Every world competition that we play, we will have a chance. This team has as much chance as we had in 2003."
India are dubbed as the favorites to win the showpiece event along with the likes of England and Australia. The legendary batsman reckoned that the the skipper Kohli will be under pressure but it will bring out the best in him.
"So it's good that India is under pressure, every other team in the World Cup will be under pressure. You don't want to turn up like a Nepal or an Ireland where the entire world thinks that you're not going to win. You rather turn up like an India or an Australia or England where everybody says this team is going to win the World Cup. So Virat, probably being the best player in the world at the moment, is as much under pressure as anybody else and that will be good for him because he will turn up, work hard, he will be pumped and get India going,” he expressed.
Each of the ten teams will play nine games before the semi-finals and will face each other once. The southpaw was all praise for the new format.
"This team has as much as opportunity. It's a great World Cup because all 10 teams play against each other and the best four qualify. There are strong teams and you realise England, Pakistan, West Indies all can win. So it's good that India is under pressure because it will help them perform and it's going to be exciting 55 days of cricket," Ganguly signed off.
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