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Legendary Australia spinner Shane Warne believes that India skipper Virat Kohli is better than iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar when it comes to scoring hundreds when chasing a target in ODI cricket.
Kohli is second on the list for the most hundreds in ODI cricket as he has 35 to his name. However, Tendulkar is the only name ahead of Kohli as he accumulated 49 ODI centuries during his illustrious career.
“I think the way Virat plays and you look at his numbers and it’s uncanny how many times he has got hundreds in ODI cricket chasing totals down,” Warne told India Today. “I don’t think anyone, not even Sachin could do what Virat’s done.
“We know Sachin and Brian Lara were the two best players of all time in our generation. But Virat and AB de Villiers; it’s very difficult to separate those guys.
“Virat is as good as anyone that I have seen play the game. Wonderful, terrific player, I love his energy and passion. I am sure when he finishes in ten years or so he will be spoken about in the same breath as Sachin.”
Meanwhile, Warne also feels that Kohli will steal the spotlight during India’s upcoming Test series in England.
In 2014, Kohli made headlines when India were in England, but for all the wrong reasons as he scored 134 runs in five Tests at a disappointing average of 13.40.
“India face England first; perhaps the only place which Virat hasn’t yet nailed,” Warne said. “And I think he will nail England this year. I think Virat will have an unbelievable series in England which will hold him in good stead in Australia also.
“He played beautifully in Australia in the last tour. His knock at Adelaide was nearly match winning. Jeez! he played well. I love to see Virat Kohli play.
“Virat and AB De Villiers are the two standout batsmen in all formats. I would throw Steve Smith in there in Test cricket. Watching Virat play in England and then on the fast bouncy pitches in Australia is what I am looking forward to.”
In order to prepare for the forthcoming Test series against England, Kohli will play county cricket with Surrey for a month. However, as a result of his county stint, he will miss the historic one-off Test match against Afghanistan, who will be making their Test debut.
“It’s a one off Test against Afghanistan and you should always try to play a Test match as much as you can,” Warne said. “But I think it’s a brave and courageous decision from Virat and shows how important the England series is for him and his team.
“He hasn’t nailed England before; Jimmy Anderson has had his number. So I don’t mind Virat missing this one off-Test match. If it was a series, the captain should be there. I am also very happy that Rahane is captaining that Test side. It’s fantastic for Jinx and I am happy and proud for him.”
Responding to those who have criticised Kohli for opting to play county cricket instead of representing India in the lone Test against Afghanistan, Warne said: “It actually shows how much he values Test cricket. You can talk about him not playing this one but he is valuing Test cricket by playing first-class cricket in those conditions before the England series which says a lot.
“I love the bravery and courage he has to play county cricket to prepare for the England series. I think that shows how important it is for him and it’s a great decision from him.”