Shoaib Akhtar: Virat Kohli Was Supported By Team Management
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Shoaib Akhtar: Virat Kohli Was Supported By Team Management

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Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan pacer has once again spoken highly of Indian skipper Virat Kohli, saying his growth as a batsman over the years has been terrific. Shoaib Akhtar recalled the first few years of Virat Kohli who was nowhere to be seen in international cricket but admitted and praised the tremendous transformation shown by him which was coupled by the backing of the team management.

Virat Kohli has 70 international centuries in Test and ODI combined and scored 7240 Test, 11687 ODI, and 2794 T20I runs. He has 27 Tests and 43 ODI hundreds, next only to Sachin Tendulkar who has exactly 100 centuries-51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. Image Credit: Getty Images

Shoaib Akhtar: Virat Kohli Is Backed By Team Management Since 2010-2011

In ODIs, Virat Kohli has the second-highest number of centuries and the highest number of centuries in run-chases in the world. He holds the world record for being the fastest batsman to reach 11,000 runs in ODI cricket. He was part of the squad that won the 2011 World Cup. He made his Test debut in 2011 and shook off the tag of limited over specialist batsman by 2013 with Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa.

Virat Kohli averages more than 50 in each of the three formats-Test, ODI and T20I besides leading the Royal  Challengers Bangalore team in IPL since 2013.

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar

“Virat Kohli has reached a whole new level, but who is behind the Kohli brand? In 2010, 2011, Kohli was nowhere to be seen. He was part of the circle; he was a brat like me. All of a sudden, the system supported him. The management went around him. He also realised that there’s a lot of reputation at stake,” Akhtar said on a YouTube Show Cricket Baaz.

He had scored less than 3000 ODI runs before 2010-2011 and had only 4 centuries. He also played in 5 T20Is in 2010-2011 and debuted in Tests in 2011. So the flamboyant right-handed batsman rose to fame after performing well post 2011 World Cup.

Shoaib Akhtar: Virat Kohli Plays In A Comparatively Easy Era But Should be Credited For His Phenomenal Records While Batting

Shoaib Akhtar weighed in on Virat Kohli’s comparison with Sachin Tendulkar, believing the Indian captain has played his cricket in a much easy era sans pace bowling greats Glenn McGrath, Wasim Akram, and spin bowling legends Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, although the former quick mentioned that it takes nothing away from what he has achieved in his career.

“It’s not his fault that he’s playing in an era of easy cricket, or if Sachin played in a tougher era or Wasim, Waqar and Inzamam have player a much more competitive brand of cricket. So if he’s scoring runs, what we can say about it?” Akhtar said.

Recently, Shoaib Akhtar has been criticized for his repeated praise for India, and the continuous bashing of Pakistan cricket. In regards to the topic, Shoaib Akhtar explained that even though there are times he criticizes the Indian cricket team too, the fact that they have two of the best batsmen in the world in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma does not leave him with any other choice other than to praise them.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Naseem Shah
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I criticize India as well. But if Virat Kohli has 12,000 runs, what else you can say, Rohit Sharma has two double centuries in One Day cricket, what can you say. The enemy’s qualities should be known among us. Kohli has become the greatest batsman, what can you say, should I say he is a bad person or he is not a good player,” Akhtar said.

Virat Kohli is India’s highest ODI run-getter and century-maker after Sachin Tendulkar and is the leading T20I run-getter in the world with 2794 runs.

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