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Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team can be ‘greatest ever’ in ODIs: Sunil Gavaskar

Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, the Indian cricket team is scaling new heights, with the latest being their ascension to the top spot in ICC ODI Rankings. Sunil Gavaskar is full of praise

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 25, 2017 18:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs Australia,India cricket team,Virat Kohli
India have been in impressive form under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. They have become the No. 1 ODI side after beating Australia in the third ODI in Indore on Sunday.(AFP)

A few months before India begin their ultimate challenge of carrying their successful run across formats overseas in countries like South Africa, England and Australia, former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has labelled Virat Kohli’s team as the one which may become one of India’s ‘greatest ever’ in ODIs.

India on Sunday became the No 1 ODI team with a five-wicket victory over Australia, in the third game of their five-match series against Australia.

Last year, the Indian cricket team had reached the No 1 spot in ICC Test Rankings, and their achievement on Sunday marks the first instance ever that India have occupied the top spot in two formats at one time. In T20Is, however, India are languishing at the fifth spot.

Sunil Gavaskar, who has been very impressed with the current Indian side, told NDTV, “Well, comparisons are not quite correct but this is a very, very good team. I think by the time this team finishes, I think it is going to go down as the greatest Indian one-day team ever.”

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He added, “Because the balance is so good. The batting is right down to number 8 or 9. You have bowlers who can bowl, whatever, whenever they are asked and therefore, I think you take all aspects into consideration and you know that this is a really, really special team, captained by a very special player.”

AUSSIES IN DIRE STRAITS

Sunil Gavaskar added that the Australian team, seemingly struggling on all fronts in the ongoing series, is not as weak as the Sri Lankan side that was blanked 5-0 by India earlier this month.

“The Sri Lankan team wasn’t a very strong team and that’s only fair but this Australian team is an experienced team. Probably not the same kind of batting line-up as (Matthew) Hayden, (Adam) Gilchrist or (Ricky) Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey were there but I think this is a very good Australian team,” he said.

“The Australians never give up and I think, what they are missing at the moment is one more batsman who can make a difference and they are missing one more bowler. But as far as India is concerned, they are not choosing the team that takes the field against them,” Gavaskar added.

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“They are just playing against them. And as Virat Kohli said, they are going to be ruthless and they are going to be relentless, they are going to be pursuing victory in every game and the fact that in all three games they were put under pressure, which never happened apart from one game in Sri Lanka, when Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took them home, over here in all three games they were put under some sort of pressure but to come through that pressure and go on to win easily is the hallmark of a great team, a champion team,” the former Indian cricketer said.

MISSING A BATSMAN

Talking about Australia, Gavaskar insisted that the Steven Smith-led team is lacking an additional batsman as well as a bowler.

“As said earlier, they are not having the same kind of depth that they had earlier in their batting and that is where they are missing out on a batsman coming in at No 5 or 6 who can come in and make the difference. They have got top two three batsman. After that what? If those three batsmen, Warner, Aaron Finch and Steven Smith, don’t score runs then they are struggling,” he said.

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Gavaskar also pointed fingers at Glenn Maxwell, whose lack of runs have hurt Australia in this series. “They don’t seem to have a batsman at the moment who can play the big innings, who can play the defining innings, who can play the impact innings,” he said.

MS Dhoni stumps Glenn Maxwell during the 3rd ODI at Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday. PTI (PTI)

Sunil Gavaskar explained, “Yes, Maxwell will come and hit the odd boundary, maybe he will score runs in 10-15 innings but he is not what you call a dependable player at 5 or 6. So that is something that the Australians are lacking.

“Because earlier on, they had Mike Hussey batting at 5 or 6 and who would take them to a big total. They had Michael Bevan at 5 or 6 who would take them to a big total. So that is what they are missing out on.”

With the series already lost, Australia will look to salvage pride in the remaining ODIs. The fourth game will be played in Bengaluru on Thursday and the fifth and final ODI will be at Nagpur on October 1.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 16:58 IST