Ganguly makes a bold claim about Kohli

Sourav Ganguly India captain Virat Kohli better than Viv Richards ODI cricket

Sourav Ganguly: “I think I’ll keep him ahead of Viv Richards”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that current India skipper Virat Kohli is better than legendary West Indies batsman Sir Vivian Richards when it comes to ODI cricket.

Ganguly’s comments come after Kohli broke a plethora of records during his side’s 5-1 series win against South Africa, which marked India’s first-ever bilateral ODI series victory in the country.

Kohli, who now has 35 ODI centuries to his name, became the first Indian batsman to score three centuries in a bilateral ODI series.

Furthermore, he is the first player score 500 runs or more in a bilateral ODI series. The previous record belonged to his teammate Rohit Sharma, who accumulated 491 runs in the seven-match series against Australia in 2013.

Having scored a total of 558 runs at an average of 186, the Delhi native also broke the record for the most runs made in a bilateral ODI series against the Proteas in South Africa. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was the previous record holder as he amassed 454 runs in a seven-match series back in 2005.

As for Richards, he played in 187 ODIs and scored 6,721 runs, which included 11 centuries and 45 fifties, at an average of 47.

With that in mind, Ganguly firmly believes that Kohli is better than the iconic West Indian batsman.

“Yes, absolutely. Because numbers do show something. I once again say that I don’t compare eras but numbers do have a meaning,” Ganguly told India Today. “35 hundreds and Viv I don’t know how many 14 or 15. Yes bowling attacks were different but numbers don’t lie.

“I think I’ll keep him ahead of Viv Richards. He once again scored a hundred chasing a target and that was an easy century. He doesn’t nick, doesn’t play a wrong shot, doesn’t play a false stroke and scores hundreds at will. These two (Kohli and Sachin) are the best I have seen in the last 30-35 years.”

In fact, Ganguly even went as far as saying that Kohli is on the verge of becoming the greatest ODI batsman of all time.

“Very close to (being the greatest in one day cricket),” he said. “I don’t compare eras but he and Sachin Tendulkar are two of the greatest. What he has done in the last few years is remarkable.

“He already has 35 hundreds and he’s just 30 years old. In another 7-8 years he might get past Sachin’s 49 hundreds. I don’t compare eras but these two are the best I have seen for a long, long time.”

Ganguly also admitted that what makes Kohli’s record stand out even more is the amount of runs and centuries he has scored since taking over as captain.

“What separates him from the rest and even from Sachin is the way he has played as a captain in one day cricket,” the 45-year-old said. “His record in one day cricket as captain, number of hundreds in ODIs as captain is by far the best. Just fantastic.

“It’s such a pleasure to watch and you feel so proud when you see the way he plays. In the sixth ODI he played as if it was knock in a club game. He kept smashing wherever he wanted and I think he is a huge, huge name all around the world and he’s a real ambassador of world cricket at the moment.”

While Kohli is often compared with England captain Joe Root, Australia skipper Steve Smith and New Zealand leader Kane Williamson, Ganguly feels that the Delhi native is better than the rest in all three formats.

“Virat is the greatest at the moment across formats,” he said. “Test cricket also he gets runs, he scored four back-to-back hundreds in Australia. He scores in India as well. He is no way inferior than anyone.

“He may have scored a few hundreds lesser than Steve Smith but look at his one day and T20 record, it’s much better than Steve Smith. He is the best batsman in the world at the moment and the biggest match-winner in the world at the moment.”

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