Virat Kohli can be the best player in the world, says Adam Gilchrist
ASSUMING the Test captaincy against Australia will prove the making of Virat Kohli but cricket’s fragile fabric is threatened if India liquidates a faltering West Indies board, warns legend Adam Gilchrist.
Former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Gilchrist is an ardent admirer of Indian skipper MS Dhoni. However the superstar gloveman will miss India’s Test series opener against Australia in Brisbane next month due to a cracked thumb.
Kohli, 26, is blessed with exquisite timing and comprehensive scoring arc – averaging 40 after 29 Tests and 50 through 145 one-day appearances. The charismatic batsman can become the game’s premier force, predicts Gilchrist, with a landmark tour of Australia.Virat has the capability of being the best player in the world,” Gilchrist said of Kohli, destined to inherit 33-year-old Dhoni’s full-time captaincy and $30 million annual earnings.
“He has some learnings that he will need to overcome away from India but I believe he can do it and has the game and hunger to do it.”
Kohli has led India in one-day action against Sri Lanka while Dhoni convalesces but will make his Test captaincy debut against Michael Clarke’s unit at the Gabba.
“He may well thrive with this opportunity, is a big game player, so I think he will really enjoy taking on that responsibility,” Gilchrist said of Kohli, whose maiden ton against Australia in Adelaide three years ago was overshadowed by his accusations of abuse by fans and speedster Ben Hilfenhaus.Dhoni has been India’s guiding light on the way to supremacy across all formats. A seven-year tenure as skipper has delivered the 2007 World Twenty20 title, No.1 Test ranking from December 2009-11 and the World Cup in 2011.
“Dhoni is a wonderful leader of Indian cricket, has had a huge impact,” said Gilchrist, who has released a new book, Adam Gilchrist, The Man, The Cricketer, The Legend.
“There has been a calmness about him and the way they go about their business.”
Humble former ticket inspector Dhoni has smoothed over the divisions that bubble close to the surface in India sides. Kohli’s audition as skipper will be provide an insight into his personal evolution.
“People have thrown questions up but they have done it in all forms under him,” said Gilchrist of 88-Test veteran Dhoni, injured during the early stages of a troubled tour that the West Indies abandoned last month in India.
“Any time he is not around they feel it.”Gilchrist is ideally placed to comment on the light and shade of Indian cricket as a linchpin of the Indian Premier League and only skipper of an Australian Test series triumph on the subcontinent in four decades.
The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) is initiating legal proceedings against the West Indies Cricket Board, seeking $65 million in compensation given three Tests, 50-over and Twenty20 clashes were unfulfilled last month.
However Gilchrist shares former West Indies skipper Carl Hooper’s fear that Caribbean cricket may never recover from pending financial ruin, ultimately striking a mortal blow to the traditional format.
“If that lawsuit goes through that will cripple the game there in the West Indies clearly and we don’t have enough legitimate Test playing nations as it is to start wiping others out,” Gilchrist told News Corp Australia.That needs to be thought through.”
There is irony in the BCCI complaining about abandoned tours when it threatened to boycott the 2008 tour of Australia at the height of ‘Monkeygate’ tensions over spinner Harbhajan Singh’s alleged racial slur against Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
Gilchrist, a deep thinker who has concluded a six-year contribution as national Australia Day Council chair, hopes common sense prevails.
“We have to be consistent with these things and it is just not good for the game for these situations to arise,” said Gilchrist.