Virat Kohli’s intense race with England’s Joe Root for the tag as the world’s best batsman may have fuelled excitement in the cricket world, but the India Test skipper shows being a student of the game means putting such comparisons to the side.
Virat Kohli was not included in the ICC Test Team of the Year, which came as a surprise although the world body had only taken performances between September 2015 and 2016 as the criterion.
Root, along with New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Steven Smith and David Warner of Australia are all jockeying for the tag of the world’s best batsman. But this is what Kohli said when asked about Root during the Chennai Test.
Virat Kohli was also effusive in his assessment of his rival in the news conference before the final Test against England in Chennai, which India won by an innings and 75 runs.
Asked what he felt about vice-captain Joe Root’s credentials to replace Alastair Cook, who has struggled to inspire the team, Kohli said: “Joe is an outstanding player, been very fond of the player and the way he goes about things, he is very positive, always thinks of any situation as an opportunity,” Kohli told the pre-match news conference.
“It is pretty evident with the way he’s played. I don’t know what captaincy would do to that.
“Captaincy is not just about handling the 11 guys, or 10 other guys on the field, or having the squad and interacting with the management. It comes with the whole package of interacting with the media, having people expect things out of you in a very different way, having the onus of the whole country on your shoulders as far as the sport is concerned. It is very different to how individuals react to it.
“Joe looks like one who has the temperament to do it. But you can tell when you actually get into the scheme of things and how he reacts to it himself. Only he can answer that question. But whatever I have seen of him as a player and the way he conducts himself on the field, I think he has been a great batsman for England and he is equipped well enough to handle it.”
After all, it is a small club at the very top.