Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes that India skipper Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world as of now.
Kohli has been in sublime form as of late, especially in his side’s last two Test series against New Zealand and England.
In the three-Test series against the Black Caps, Kohli amassed 309 runs at an average of 51.50.
He followed that up with 655 runs at an average of 109.16 in the five-Test series against England.
However, the 28-year-old has also excelled in the limited overs format as in the ODI series against New Zealand and England, he averaged 119.33 and 61.66 respectively.
“Is he the best batsman in the world? Yeah, he probably is,” Ponting told Gulf News in Abu Dhabi. “I thought he was six or seven months ago and he’s probably taken it to another level since then.”
As a result of his incredible performances with the bat, Kohli sits in second place on the Test batsmen rankings, third place on the ODI batsmen rankings and at the summit of the Twenty20 International batsmen rankings.
Kohli will be looking to maintain his red-hot form when Australia visit India for a four-Test series later this month.
Speaking about the series, Ponting admitted that the Baggy Greens will be in for a tough time, especially as he feels that Kohli will “continue to improve, especially now that he’s the captain as well and his team’s winning”.
“Is it too premature to call him the best ever? You can probably say that right now as far as his one-day cricket is concerned,” Ponting added. “His one-day record is outstanding and probably better than anybody that’s ever played the game given how many hundreds (27) he’s made but let’s give him a few years yet in the Test series side of things.
“It’s too early yet to be taking about him being one of the greats. I think the great players we always talk about – the Tendulkars, the Laras, the Kallises – those guys played 120, 130-200 Test matches. Virat’s not even halfway along that path.”
Simply put, Ponting made it clear that Australia will have to restrict Kohli’s flow of runs if they are to have any chance of leaving India victorious.
“The one thing about Virat Kohli is whenever there’s any confrontation, he does get a little bit outside of his comfort zone,” he said. “You can see that he gets ultra-aggressive, which may be a good thing for him or maybe good for the opposition.
“We will wait and see what happens. I think he’s a similar sort of character to me as well. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s pretty animated. He’s a very aggressive player.
“One thing I learnt about playing in India is the momentum that the home team can create, you have to try and stop that.
“Someone like Virat, you have to take his boundary-scoring areas away and make him score his runs in different areas or make him bat for a longer time to make his runs.”