ICC World Cup 2019 | Virat Kohli has taken the mantle of cricket now in his hands, says Zaheer Khan

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ICC World Cup 2019 | Virat Kohli has taken the mantle of cricket now in his hands, says Zaheer Khan

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SportsCafe Desk

06/11/2019

Retired Indian pacer Zaheer Khan was all praise for Virat Kohli’s wonderful gesture for fellow cricketer Steve Smith and labelled him as the person to carry cricket forward. He called Kohli one of the game’s finest ambassadors and appreciated his ability to separate matters on and off the field

In what was probably the moment of the tournament so far, Virat Kohli took the initiative and waved his hands to the Indian fans to catch their attention before signalling them to clap for fellow batting icon Steve Smith before walking back to the centre nodding his head in disappointment. The incident happened during a drinks break after the former Australian skipper was constantly being jeered by fans when fielding on the boundary lines for his ball tampering incident that had taken place more than a year back. The gesture was followed by a respectful handshake between the two great batsmen.

“I think Virat is a true ambassador of the game because it is important to think of the game in that fashion. He is not only looking at his own performances or, being a captain, he is not only thinking about his team, he is thinking about the game overall. It is something that this kind of gesture shows because he actually went out of his way to make sure the booing stops and the encouragement which is deserved, Smith gets that,” Zaheer said on Cricbuzz Live.

“So that is something that was heartening to see and you know with Virat, he has been taking everything to another level. So I think it’s just his way of thinking about the game and understanding that he is an ambassador to the game. And this gesture was just a result of that kind of thought process,” the former pacer added.

Zaheer shares a great relationship with the Indian skipper off the field and has often acted as a mentor for the aggressive cricketer for Delhi. Initially thought to be too rash to be handed the reigns of the national team, Kohli has really come of age since taking over the captaincy role from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his comments over the past few years on different matters have shown he truly has moulded himself into a personality worthy of a great like him.

“It is good to see that he has taken the mantle of cricket now in his hands. It is not only about going out there but also scoring runs, winning matches for India, he is actually looking far beyond all that. And I think that is a great sign. For him to be a true leader, I think it is always about pushing that bar higher and higher. We have seen him push that bar with his cricket, we have seen him push it in terms of his approach and how he has matured as a cricketer, but I think this is a great thing to witness that he is not only going to stop there, he is going to take things even further,” Khan said heaping praise on the 30-year-old.

“Be it the fans or the players, [he is thinking about] how the distance can be closed or shortened and how there is a better understanding between both sides. Players who are playing their heart out there on the field and playing hard cricket but also how they are as human beings. We battle on the field, we have verbal spats which I am sure Kohli cannot get away from even if he wants to but outside [the field], we respect each other. The other side is to be respected by the fans as well and be supported in that fashion,” he concluded on the matter.

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