Image courtesy of: Zimbio
There has been a lot of debate over the last couple of years on who the best batsmen in international cricket is. Two names that have commonly popped up are India captain Virat Kohli and Australia skipper Steve Smith.
While opinion is split down the middle over who is better, legendary South Africa pace bowler Makhya Ntini has explained why Kohli gets his vote.
Ntini pointed out that Kohli is constantly under pressure to deliver as cricket fans in India worship and idolise him.
Smith is also in the public eye in Australia, but not to the extent that Kohli is in India.
“Firstly, the fans need to let Kohli breathe,” Ntini told CricketNext. “But to be honest, in a country where cricket is an obsession, Kohli shoulders the responsibility of bringing a smile to a billion faces like a true champion. At times, it almost feels like he is a run-machine and not a human.
“His dedication and work ethic is exemplary and the consistency with which he scores runs – the huge level of expectation notwithstanding – sets him apart from any player in the modern era.
“No denying that Smith is an equally brilliant batsman, but the Aussie skipper doesn’t have half the pressure from fans that Kohli has to face every time he marks his guard.”
Ntini also had some words of advice for India pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who made his Test debut in the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
“To be fair, Bumrah has just started off in the longer version,” he said. “But he has impressed in limited-overs cricket and if he can get his bowling arm closer to his ear, that will make him all the more dangerous with the angle he will then create.
“It will make even the ball that holds its line after pitching, unplayable. I am sure he has the right people guiding him and has a bright future ahead of him.”
When asked about the Test series, Ntini admitted that while India may not have got the result they wanted, he has been impressed with their overall performance. He added that the limited over series will be a “completely new chapter”.
“India might have failed to get the desired result in the Test series, but they have played an aggressive brand of cricket and that has seen the momentum shift time and again in both the Test matches – in Cape Town and Centurion,” he said. “Kohli knows his game and he had the bowlers who could get him 20 wickets. The batting did disappoint and not having Ajinkya Rahane in the XI meant that the visitors missed the trick.
“But then, it will be a completely new chapter when the ODIs start and trust me the wounded Indians will come out all guns blazing.”