STAR KOHLI CAN TAKE ON ‘SACHIN’ ROLE FOR IN­DIA

In­dia’s star bats­man is lauded for his World T20 ex­hi­bi­tion

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Vi­rat Kohli has been hailed as a “ge­nius” and “un­real” by In­dian cricket icons fol­low­ing his match-win­ning per­for­mance with the bat against Aus­tralia in the group stage of the World Twenty20.

Go­ing into the tour­na­ment Kohli was billed as the one to watch and so far has not dis­ap­pointed with 184 runs in four matches. His un­beaten 82 off 51 guided the host na­tion to vic­tory against the Baggy Greens and se­cured a semi-fi­nal spot against the West Indies in Mum­bai on Thurs­day (5.30pm UAE time).

“Hats off to this ge­nius with a bat,” said for­mer fast bowl­ing star Kapil Dev.

“I have al­ways be­lieved that T20 cricket is not just about slam­ming the ball or in­dulging in am­bi­tious shots. “You can play your nor­mal cricket strokes and win your bat­tles against the bowlers. Vi­rat’s ex­hi­bi­tion proved it.”

As well as Dev, for­mer In­dian skip­per Sourav Gan­guly and com­men­ta­tor Prakash Wakankar were also full of praise for Kohli af­ter his hero­ics against Aus­tralia in Mo­hali.

Kohli’s 82 not out meant that he now has a bat­ting av­er­age of 91.80 when In­dia are chas­ing. Gan­guly says he is bet­ter than an­other leg­end of In­dian cricket.

Gan­guly told In­dia Today: “Kohli is the great­est chaser by far and I am say­ing this keep­ing in mind the great man Sachin Ten­dulkar.

“Sachin was spe­cial but as far as chas­ing is con­cerned, Kohli has done bet­ter than Sachin. Kohli is un­real.”

Wakankar added that Kohli is a “wor­thy suc­ces­sor” to take over from Ten­dulkar’s man­tle as the In­dian team’s star.

“Vi­rat is be­com­ing the youngest se­nior states­man for In­dia,” Wakankar told the BBC. “He is hold­ing the team to­gether, his bravado is speak­ing through his bat and not his ac­tions, and he seems to be in com­plete con­trol. He is in a zone and can’t do any­thing wrong.

“Vi­rat is a phe­nom­e­non in the mak­ing as long as he learns from his idol Sachin Ten­dulkar how to han­dle the pres­sure and stay in his own space. He may well be the man who peo­ple can look upon as a wor­thy suc­ces­sor.”

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