Any Test team should win consistently overseas to be truly considered the world’s top side and Virat Kohli’s India has the makings of one, former skipper Sourav Ganguly said on Monday after the hosts reclaimed the No 1 spot in the ICC rankings after beating the Kiwis in the second Test.
“I still don't agree with the No 1 position because I don't think India have won in Australia or England or South Africa or New Zealand,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today website.
“I didn't agree to Pakistan's No 1 position,” the former left-hander said, referring to the previous top-ranked side. “In my era, Australia were the real No 1 Test side because they won everywhere.”
Virat Kohli's side were ranked No 1 in Tests, albeit temporarily, back in August after they won the Test series in the West Indies 2-0. However, Pakistan took the top place after squaring a series against England until India sealed the home series against New Zealand at Eden on Monday with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
“I don't think Pakistan are India's yardstick at the moment. India are a far better side than Pakistan in Test cricket. So I don't think it could be a comparison. I was surprised to see Pakistan becoming No.1 after their 2-2 series against England,” Ganguly said.
“So I really didn't consider that to be No 1 but I think this win is a lot more satisfying for India and a lot more satisfying for viewers like us and for people who played cricket for such a long time,” the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ said, referring specifically to the side’s victory on a sporting Eden wicket.
Ganguly, who turned India into world-beaters after taking over the captaincy in 2000, was all praise of Kohli’s leadership approach.
“The best thing that I liked about Kohli in this Test match (was) that not once did he turn up (regarding the) surface and say that ‘I want this and I want that.’ He just played on what he was given and he reacted to it,” said Ganguly, who is president of the Cricket Association of Bengal.
“The surface had everything for the bowlers. Fast bowlers got help today (Day 4) as well. It was not one of those square rank turners you get in India. Everybody came into the game. Everybody had to be at their best to pick wickets and win Test matches.
“That is exactly what happens when you travel overseas. India's power in Test cricket will be judged how well they play overseas and victories like this on these sort of surface will make them confident when they travel abroad.
“I think this victory was lot more creditable than (winning on) turning pitches and Kohli should relish this. I was very happy to see Kane Williamson go up to the pitch curator and say that this is the best surface they have seen in India for a long, long time. Even Kohli praised the pitch at the presentation ceremony.
“These kind of pitches will prepare Indian cricket to be a better side overseas and Kohli should try and do that because India will win in India and that's not our goal. Our goal is to become a good team all around the world,” Ganguly concluded.