Praising Virat Kohli, Sourav Ganguly has stated that the Indian skipper is at par with India’s Fab Four - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, and Virender Sehwag. Ganguly has also lauded the "commendable" performance of the wrist-spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Under Ganguly's leadership, a bunch of supremely talented batsmen and driven cricketers called the 'Fab 4', helped in taking the flag of the Indian cricket onward and upward and that culminated with the team rising to secure the numero uno status in Tests for the first time under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, in 2009. However, after watching Kohli taking on the bowlers in South Africa with absolute brilliance, Ganguly stated that the current Indian skipper has already joined the league of the Fab Four.
"It has been a superb performance from India. To see them 3-0 up in a six-match ODI series in South Africa, especially after losing the Test series, speaks volumes of the character shown by Virat Kohli and his boys," Ganguly wrote in his column for TOI.
"I have been fortunate enough to play with and against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Ricky Ponting, and Brian Lara, and this man is right up there with all of them. What stands out for me is not just his amazing control and his ability to adjust but also the energy and intensity he brings to his batting in each and every innings."
This was the first time when the South African team lost their first three matches of any series which became possible thanks to the amazing batting display by the Indian skipper as he scored 112, 46*, and 160* respectively. With 34 centuries in the limited-overs format of the game, Kohli is only behind Sachin Tendulkar and he has achieved this on the back of huge concentration and a fire in the belly that drives him to perform each and every time he steps onto the field.
"To get to 34 ODI centuries so quickly in his career is just out of the world. The fact that no other Indian batsman has touched a three-figure mark so far on this tour and only one South African has got a century shows what quality of batsmanship Kohli has displayed on this trip. And we still have a while to go," he added.
Apart from Kohli’s form with the bat, it has also been the wrist-spinning duo of Chahal and Kuldeep who impressed in the series so far. The South African players failed to pick their variations in the first three games as the duo shared 21 wickets among them to set up
"What has been equally commendable is the way Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have bowled. To get 21 out of 30 wickets [sic: 28] in three matches says much, not just about the number but also about the psychological effect the spin duo is having on the South African batting line-up. What is even more satisfying is that this performance has come on pitches that have not offered much turn," he wrote.
"The dismissal of South Africa captain, Aiden Markram, was a perfect example of the fact that the Proteas are not watching the revolution of the ball and lost the mental battle against the two spinners. One couldn't help but notice the smile on Kuldeep's face when he went on to pass the bat of Andile Phehlukwayo in the later stages of the game."
Apart from the attack of Kuldeep and Chahal, the South African team were suffered from injury woes as AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, and Quinton de Kock were ruled out from the series. But ahead of the fourth game in Johannesburg, the hosts got some good news as de Villiers would join the squad for the remaining matches which might boost the morale of the team who are searching for their first win in the series.
"There are three more games left in the series and the good news for South Africa is that AB de Villiers will be back, but his mere presence will not help the fortunes of his side. He has to do a Kohli for his team to turn its fortunes around. The South Africans have had some selection issues which have surprised many. Morne Morkel being left out on Wednesday raised some eyebrows, and he is a must in the next three games for them," wrote Ganguly.
"Also, if Khaya Zondo and Phehlukwayo have to play for South Africa, they will have to raise their game more than what has been on display till now in the series. One has to deserve a place in an international side and at present that is not happening for them."
AB de Villiers or Virat Kohli - who will score more runs?
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