Sanjay Manjrekar, the commentator and former India international, said on Monday, 7 August, that Virat Kohli had carved a special place for himself among the former Indian greats.
Manjrekar was speaking in a debate with David Richardson, the International Cricket Council Chief Executive, Jason Roy, the English batsman, and Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire cricket and broadcaster, after Richardson delivered the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.
Asked to rate Kohli as a batsman, Manjrekar said: "Even among Indian greats now, he’s finding a special place. It’s amazing. You talk about dirty Varanasi waters, but Indian waters keep producing these kind of phenomenal batting talents, year after year, generation after generation.
“Sunil Gavaskar quit in 1987. We had Tendulkar two years later, in 1989. And as he was winding up his long career, here comes Virat Kohli.”
Heading into the series, there was much talk about Kohli’s form in England – he managed just 134 runs in five Tests in 2014 – but the India captain put that behind him to score 200 runs in Birmingham last week.
It was evidence of the self-belief that Manjrekar said was Kohli's biggest asset. “Where I find him different from other batting greats is his self-belief, his self-confidence,” said Manjrekar. “I remember he averaged 13 (13.4) the last time he was here in England. The very next Test match was in Adelaide, and he walked out like he was king of Adelaide.
🗣 "We're not scared of him"@JasonRoy20 says that despite the talents of Virat Kohli, England don't fear the prospect of coming up against him.— Lord's Cricket Ground (@HomeOfCricket) August 6, 2018
Watch live ➡️ https://t.co/Za9EqiZPjV#CowdreyLecturepic.twitter.com/nHGKwFE5X9
“His self-confidence doesn’t dip, it takes a lot for that to take a beating. That makes him special. The other thing is his fitness. I think he’s the fittest, greatest batsman.”
Roy was then asked by Nicholas about facing a team with a modern-day great, and whether they were afraid of him. But the batsman immediately said, “Not scared of him, no.”
“He’s obviously a great player, and rightly so, you’ve given him such kind words,” said Roy. “He’s an extremely good athlete, an imposing batsman, an imposing figure on the field. We’ve got to find ways of dismantling him somehow, so we can’t give him too much praise right here.”