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Ravi Shastri sparks new debate - Is Virat Kohli greater than MS Dhoni?

While it’s still early days, but Virat Kohli can match Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s achievements as skipper, believes Indian cricket team’s new head coach Ravi Shastri.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Jul 31, 2017 22:38 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
MS Dhoni,Virat Kohli,Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri believes the way Virat Kohli is progressing as Indian cricket team’s captain, he may well catch up with MS Dhoni. (AFP )

Virat Kohli’s ascendancy since becoming the India Test captain in 2014 has been startling. His aggressive attitude coupled with brilliance in batting meant that the national team found a perfect successor to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose achievement as skipper is unmatched in Indian cricket.

While still it is early days, but Kohli can match Dhoni’s achievements as skipper, believes India’s new head coach Ravi Shastri.

(Read | Virat Kohli ‘spoilt for choices’ ahead of second India vs Sri Lanka Test match)

The claim may be tall since Dhoni remains the only cricket captain in the world to win all ICC trophies – the World Cup, the World T20 and the Champions Trophy. His time at the helm of India also saw them claiming the No. 1 position in Tests.

But then Kohli has also got a great start to his career as captain. Among all the captains who have led India for more than 20 Test matches, Kohli has the highest win percentage. In 27 Tests, he has 17 wins with 62.96 win percentage. Dhoni won 27 out of 60 Tests as captain, with the win percentage being 45. Sourav Ganguly is third in the list with a win percentage of 42.85, winning 21 out of 49 Tests as captain.

(Read | How Hardik Pandya survived on Maggi before becoming Indian cricket team star)

“The way Virat is progressing, he may well catch up with Dhoni. I have been involved with cricket for 35 years as player, commentator and coach. Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, I have never seen anyone break records like Kohli. He has caught up with many greats, playing just half the number of matches. I wonder where will he stop,” Shastri told Anandabazar Patrika, a Bengali daily.

Shastri, who returned to the Indian dressing room after a year-long gap as head coach, is currently touring Sri Lanka with the Indian team for a three-Test rubber followed by limited overs series.

(Read | Sachin Tendulkar joins PM Narendra Modi in praising Indian women’s cricket team)

The following seasons will see India travelling to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

This was one area where Dhoni’s team failed to stamp their authority and if Kohli’s gang does it, there will be no doubt about who India’s greatest captain is.

‘Dhoni all-time greatest’

Shastri, however, added that based on current record Dhoni is India’s all-time greatest captain.

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“The guy has won two world titles - a World Cup and a World T20. Beside that, he has also finished runner-up in another World T20. He played in the semi-finals of two other World T20 and World Cups. People often talk about his limited-over record, but compare Dhoni’s Test with any captain and it will show who is the greatest ever ,” Shari said.

“Virat is progressing in the same direction as well.”

When Shastri was the team director of India from 2014 to 2016, he saw both Dhoni and Kohli as captains from close quarters.

In fact, it was during Shastri’s time at the helm that Dhoni quit as Test captain to make way for Kohli in 2014.

Shastri added that Kohli has potential to be the greatest captain of the current generation but may face stiff competition from an Australian.

“Steve Smith. As a captain his batting record is exceptional,” Shastri said.

As a captain, Smith’s batting average is 73.27, second only to Don Bradman’s 101.51. Kohli is third in the list with an average of 61.09.

In days to come, the two might well decide whose team will rule cricket in the next decade.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 18:07 IST