Former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday heaped praise on Test captain Virat Kohli for displaying a winning mentality and aggression on the cricket field, adding that he hoped to see Kohli do better than he did as a skipper.
“I am a big fan of Virat Kohli. He is a captain who always wants to win matches on the field and I love that passion in him. I love the attitude and aggression in Kohli. He might lose sometimes and win sometimes but you know that he is playing to win it,” Ganguly told reporters in Mumbai.
“It is also a proud moment for all to see him lead a side with such passion. I want Kohli to do better than me as a skipper. But his main challenge will be when India will tour abroad. Australia, England, South Africa will test his captaincy. All the best to him for the South Africa series,” he said.
India will play South Africa in three Twenty20 matches followed by five One-Day Internationals (ODI) and four Test matches, with the first Twenty20 on Friday, October 2.
The 43-year-old, who is all set to take over as the president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) after the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya, said the visiting South African team are a strong side, but India will have an upper hand because of the home conditions.
“South Africa series will be a competitive series. They have a good team and India has recently played well in Sri Lanka. It is a long series. I always say that at home India is always a strong side. South Africa has bowling quality to take 20 wickets, India too has quality bowlers along with spinners in these spinning tracks. It will be a challenge for South Africa to hold on to their form for such a long tour,” he said.
“Spinner Imran Tahir is such a bowler who has experience in him and he will come handy in these conditions. It will be a challenge for South Africa too as Indians are good players of spin,” Ganguly said.
He believes South African players with Indian Premier League (IPL) experience will come handy in the upcoming series but pointed out that holding on to their form for such a long tour will be the key for the Proteas.
“The advantage for South Africa is that most of their players play IPL and know the conditions very well. But to hold on to the form right through the whole tour will be a thing to watch out for,” he said.
Ganguly also praised Indian cricket team director Ravi Shastri for his job. “Ravi Shastri has done a good job. He has done a good job in Sri Lanka. Better not to go into the debate of foreign coach or India coach. We also have good coaches and cricketers in India who want to give time. So we have to think about them too,” he said.