Stating that he had competed alongside, and against, many cricketing greats in his playing days, Sourav Ganguly reserved special praise for Virat Kohli calling him "something special". Ganguly also predicted that Kohli would turnaround his poor record in England when India visit them next year.
Virat Kohli has been enjoying a purple patch in his career for the last year or so. Since donning the captain’s hat for Tests back in 2014, his performances have vastly improved with India going on a brilliant winning streak of eight consecutive series in the longest format. The Indian batsman has also broken numerous batting record, minor and major, as the skipper with the latest being his double century in the Nagpur Test against Sri Lanka. His knock of 213 runs, which helped India record a comprehensive victory by an innings and 239 runs, now places him on the same pedestal as Brian Lara with the most number of double centuries (5) by a captain in Tests.
His 12 century in 2017, which came earlier that day, also created a record of being the most by a captain in a calendar year after Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith. Sourav Ganguly, who has played alongside the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, and against the likes of Lara, Ponting, and Steve Waugh, believes that the young skipper is something special.
“He's fantastic with the way he's gone about his career. He just keeps getting better and better. Every era has produced champions in Indian cricket whether it was Gavaskar, Tendulkar and now its Kohli… Virat Kohli is special. I've seen players and I've played with the greats. His energy, his hunger, the way he turns tables around from the way he keeps scoring runs is phenomenal. Hopefully, he can carry this forward and do even better," Ganguly said as quoted by India today.
Things look positive for the Indian side now, who will step out of the subcontinent conditions once again after a long home season, as they are scheduled to play Test series in Australia, England, and South Africa in 2018. Ganguly has backed Kohli to get success in the overseas tours, especially in England, where his performance has been dismal. Kohli has managed just 134 runs at an average of 13.40 with no centuries in the birthplace of the sport.
“…Hopefully he keeps continuing in the next 15-16 months when it's going to be difficult conditions for India… He's got four back-to-back Test hundreds in Australia, he's got a hundred in South Africa. England is the only place he hasn't conquered but that was an old Virat Kohli back then. Let Kohli go to England this summer and I have a huge feeling that he will turn the record out there as well,” added Ganguly.
When asked about Kohli’s comparison with Australian skipper, Steven Smith, considered by many as his nemesis, Ganguly refrained from comparing them. Smith recorded a brilliant century in the first Ashes Test against England, which was going alongside India’s second Test against Sri Lanka that has led many to compare the two centuries.
“Steve Smith is a champion