Mohammad Yousuf, the former Pakistan iconic batsman, believes that even though the current Indian skipper Virat Kohli is a “very good batsman”, he is not in the exact same league of all-time India greats, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.
Yousuf, speaking on Geo Super Channel, stated, “The quality of cricket nowadays does not match the quality we had in the past. Virat Kohli is a very good batsman and I like to watch him play but I don’t think he is in the same league of Tendulkar, Dravid or Laxman.”
“To get runs against the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar or Saqlain Mushtaq was no joke. I always thought Tendulkar and Dravid were perfectionists and spent so much time on improving their game. I learnt from them,” he further added, “I am not saying Virat is not a class act. He is, but times have changed now.”
Virat Kohli has consistently been touted as the world’s best ODI batsman for the last few years now. In test matches also he has started to pick up steam. Virat just recorded his 17th ton consequently attracting comparisons to Tendulkar.
Yousuf, who is one the most respected Pakistani cricketers, played for the Pakistan national team for twelve years from 1998 to 2010, dominating against oppositions from all parts of the world. Yousuf was a part of 90 Test matches and 288 ODIs, in which he racked up 39 hundreds and 97 fifties in the two formats and accumulated over 17000 international runs. In 2006, he broke Sir Viv Richards’ 30-year-old record of most runs and centuries in tests in a calendar year by scoring 1788 runs which included 9 hundreds at an average of 99.33. He played during the time when the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid were ruling world cricket.
Yousuf conceded that many people would possibly not share his opinion but the present bowlers do not possess the same caliber as compared to the likes of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble or Muttiah Muralitharan.
The former Pakistani stalwart also contemplated that the modifications in the rules are making life a lot easier for the batsmen and the pitches too, are getting more batting-friendly. He believed that the modern Indian batsmen, led by Virat Kohli, are amassing runs against weakened oppositions and on batting-friendly pitches around the world, unlike Tendulkar and Dravid, who scored runs in all kinds of tough conditions.
He also defended the aggressive nature of Virat Kohli saying, “Even the Indian teams and players of the past were aggressive. Saurav Ganguly is an example. When we played them our players were also pumped up but at the end of the day we always appreciated a good performance even from the opposition because the quality of cricket was high.”
We believe Yousuf is right in many ways. The rules are certainly in favor of the batsmen more than ever and most of the pitches are also batting friendly, for example, the WACA was famous for its pace and pace but in recent times, we have seen teams record scores of over 600 resulting in tame draws. This, along with too much T20 cricket has led to an overall slump in the quality of cricket for the die-hard fans and followers. virat kohli
With regards to his aggressive nature, it’s good to be aggressive but Kohli is over the top most of the times. He just doesn’t seem to have a check over his emotions. You don’t just come out in a press conference mid-match and tell the world that the opposition players “were calling me a spoiled brat”, or blurt out “I won’t be friends with some of these players ever again” after winning a series. There’s an understandable code of conduct regarding such incidents, “what happens on the field, stays on the field” because at the end of the day it’s just a game.
Virat Kohli is truly one of the best batsmen of this generation but to match the likes of Tendulkar or Dravid, he needs to control his temper and stay consistent for another 5-8 years.