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Virat Kohli

Kohli is setting standards we thought would never be achieved – Dravid

India news

Rahul Dravid, the India A and Under-19 coach, credited the senior team captain Virat Kohli with setting the bar to levels so high that were previously thought impossible.

Kohli is the top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Batting Rankings for Tests and one-day internationals. He is also the fastest to 10,000 ODI runs, taking 54 fewer innings to get to the landmark than the second-placed Sachin Tendulkar.

Kohli is also fast closing in on the master’s one-day record of 49 centuries, just eight short of the mark despite having played 233 fewer innings. Dravid cited the rapid rate at which Kohli has been shattering records in the format, and also praised him for his ability to put behind lean patches and come out of the experiences a better player.

"Virat just keeps improving, keeps getting better. He is setting bars and standards that possibly we thought would never be achieved," he said. "Sachin [Tendulkar] scored 49-50 [49] hundreds in one-day cricket. People thought that this would take a lot of time to achieve, will it be ever achieved? And now Virat is 10 [eight] away from it or close to it.

Virat Kohli is already India's third-highest run-scorer of all time in ODIs
Virat Kohli is already India's third-highest run-scorer of all time in ODIs

"One of the things about Virat is that even if he has a bad tour - it is not that he hasn't had bad tours, he had a disappointing tour of England in 2014, he wasn't as successful in Australia the first time around, but every time he goes back, he goes back as a better player. He sort of reinvents his game to a point where he is constantly improving."

Dravid also reflected on the bowling resources at the disposal of the Indian captain, and felt that the presence of wicket-taking options would augur well for India at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, where matches are expected to be extremely high-scoring.

India have several strike bowlers in their arsenal. While Jasprit Bumrah, who is the spearhead of their fast-bowling attack, is also the No.1-ranked ODI bowler in the world, others such as wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have proven their utility over the past year, with both their ability to contain runs and strike at crucial junctures to break partnerships.

One of the things about Virat is that even if he has a bad tour, every time he goes back, he goes back as a better player. He sort of reinvents his game to a point where he is constantly improving.

Rahul Dravid

"I believe, having experienced some of the conditions in England last year with the A team tour, it would be a high-scoring World Cup," Dravid said. "And in a high-scoring World Cup, having bowlers who can take wickets in the middle will be very important. I think India is lucky in that regard.

"People like [Jasprit] Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal... [India have] got bowlers who can take wickets. Teams that are taking wickets through those middle overs in those high-scoring games have a better chance of restricting the opposition.

"Bowling is going to play a very big role in this World Cup, and the team that bowls best, probably, will be closer to winning it."

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