Legendary England allrounder Ian Botham reckons that Virat Kohli is the right man to lead Indian cricket forward and that he would have enjoyed playing against him.
Kohli is widely regarded as one of the finest batsmen of his generation and also known for his on-field aggression.
“Virat takes the game to the opposition, he takes a stand for his players. I would have loved to play against him. He is the right guy to take Indian cricket forward,” Botham told The Times of India.
Botham, who was part of the legendary allrounder quartet of the 1980s including Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee, says it was a privilege to have played during that era.
“It was a privilege to play in that era. We spoilt the fans for around 10-15 years. I don’t think world cricket has seen so many allrounders rubbing shoulders at the same time. In every tour I used to see what Richard has done, what Kaps (Kapil) has done, what Immi (Imran) has done. There was a great rivalry,” the former England captain said.
Botham scored over 7,000 runs and took more than 500 wickets during his international career and is considered as one of the greatest allrounders to have played the game.
Allrounders, especially who are pace bowlers, have double the workload compared to others and Botham feels there isn’t anyone among the current lot who is capable of doing what the likes of Kapil did during his playing career.
“All-rounders can’t be manufactured, they don’t grow on trees,” the 64-year-old said. “The workload is double and it obviously takes a toll on your body. Just imagine Kapil the amount of bowling he did on those Indian pitches, which had very little to offer, that too in the scorching heat of Chennai and Delhi. I can’t see anyone in the present generation being able to do that.”
Botham termed England allrounder Ben Stokes as the best cricketer in the world currently and someone who is the closest version of himself.
“Ben (Stokes) is better than a mile to Freddy (Andrew Flintoff). Ben Stokes is the closest version of me, he plays like me with his heart on his sleeve. Flintoff was good but Stokes is just exceptional. He is the best cricketer in the world now,” he said.