Virat Kohli is next big thing in Indian cricket: Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly hoped Virat Kohli fills up the place of the champion batsman Rahul Dravid at No.3 Getty Images

Kolkata: Mar 19, 2012

In red-hot form having scored four hundreds in his last five innings, youngster Virat Kohli is the ideal batsman to fill in the number three slot left vacant by Rahul Dravid’s retirement, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly.

“He is the next big thing in Indian cricket. I’ve never seen a better one-day innings in my 22-years career. I hope he fills up the place of the champion Rahul Dravid at No.3.

“Ganguly said referring to Kohli’s 148-ball 183 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup yesterday.

Talking on the sidelines of the launch of a documentary on his cricketing career, ‘The Warrior Prince’, Ganguly also congratulated Sachin Tendulkar for completing 100 international centuries.

“I had always said it was a matter of time. It’s a colossal achievement. I congratulate Sachin. I only sent a text message,” he said.

During the DVD launch of the documentary directed by Mitali Ghosal, Ganguly spoke to commentator Harsha Bhogle about the key phases of his career beginning with the 1991 tour of Australia to his retirement in Bangalore in 2008.

Describing the Big Three (Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid’s) career, Bhogle joked: “While Dravid would fit one to a picture perfect National Geographic mode, Tendulkar’s would be a blockbuster. Ganguly’s life would be of drama, full of emotions, ups and downs…”

On his ascent to captaincy, Ganguly said a lot of factors had played a role.

“There were likes of VVS Laxman, (Virender) Sehwag… It was a mixture of attitude, wanting to change Indian cricket coupled with keenness to improve fitness.”

Ganguly thanked New Zealander John Wright for bringing in a more positive atmosphere in the dressing room.

Recollecting Wright’s first day as coach, Ganguly said: “We would take a lap of a stadium once. But on his first day he said, ‘I am your coach. You have to run 10 laps of the stadium. You may abuse me.'”

“It’s the attitude to train, I think that changed Indian cricket. A crop of players came in. I loved working with him. It was a great relationship. We thought alike.”

He said reaching the final of the 2003 World Cup and beating Pakistan in Pakistan were the two most memorable triumphs of his career.

There were also talks about his stepping down from captaincy during their tour to Zimbabwe and his infamous spat with then coach Greg Chappell.

“No differences of opinion last long. It was (the) most frustrating period…”

On his retirement, he said: “I still had two years of cricket. But I was not enjoying. I was given ‘Asian cricketer’, ‘Batsman of the year’. I just felt that something was not right. I didn’t want to play cricket like that.”(PTI)