‘No sir, he is too great for me’: When India captain Virat Kohli refused to be compared with Viv Richards, reveals Greg Chappell
India captain Virat Kohli has often credited the 2014 tour to England as the toughest phase of his career. Kohli struggled with his batting at the tour, often falling victim to the swing and control from England pacer James Anderson. His self-confidence also took a hit, and he worked hard on his game to bounce back.
In his recent column on Sydney Morning Herald, former Australia captain Greg Chappell, who also worked as India’s head coach, revealed how Kohli received advice from former India cricketers Lalchand Rajput and Sachin Tendulkar which helped him regain his confidence.
“From a cricketing point of view, the turning point for Virat was his disappointing tour of England in 2014. English conditions and bowlers – Anderson in particular – had made batting seem more difficult than solving Fermat’s last theorem,” Chappell wrote.
“On his return to India, Kohli turned to Rajput for help. They spent 14 days together, working on getting into better positions to deal with the best deliveries. Tendulkar also offered some cogent inputs on batting against top bowlers.
“During one of these sessions, Rajput told Kohli that he could be a similar player to Viv Richards. Kohli wasn’t convinced. ‘No sir,’ he said, ‘he is too great for me.’ It is now looking like a prescient statement. Sir Vivian would be proud to have played some of the innings that Kohli has played in the intervening years.
“The ensuing tour of Australia was a watershed in which he set his career on a solid footing and won over the demanding crowds. This country holds a special place in his heart because “respect has to be earned; it is not given easily,” Chappell signed off.