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'Virat Kohli is the most pleasant person off the field' – Ravi Shastri

India news

Ravi Shastri, the India Head Coach, said that Virat Kohli, contrary to his 'in your face' attitude on the field, was the "most pleasant person" off it, and called him the "perfect gentleman".

Shastri and Kohli have formed a formidable coach-captain duo, and were in the thick of things after India's first-ever Test series win in Australia. It was Kohli's third tour to Australia, and he became the first Indian captain in 71 years to win a Test series on Australian soil.

"He has matured tremendously," Shastri said of Kohli in a conversation with former England captain Michael Vaughan for The Telegraph.

"When I told the Aussie media he is the perfect gentleman, they were shocked. On the field is one thing, but come off the field and meet him, he is one of the most pleasant and normal blokes you could ever meet.

"He is very caring with his team-mates and just a fantastic role model. I am lucky to be part of the dressing room and to see the greatest player in the world."

Kohli has time and again spoken about the primacy of Test cricket, and why he considers the format to be the toughest to play. And Shastri believed someone of the stature of Kohli putting Test cricket on a pedestal helped the format grow in India.

"In our country, where everything is driven by T20, IPL and one-day cricket, to have an individual like him put the onus on Test cricket more than any format of the game is massive because all the young kids want to emulate him," Shastri said.

"If Virat Kohli said 'I am bored with Test cricket' you will see the impact it would have on the game, especially in India. For him to enjoy it, and enjoy the things that go with Test cricket, like the pressure an individual feels during a Test match, is great."

Shastri rated the 2-1 Test series win in Australia as the best series he's been part of, rating it higher than India's maiden World Cup win in 1983.

'Kohli has matured tremendously' – Shastri
'Kohli has matured tremendously' – Shastri

The ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 is around the corner now, but Shastri said there was no one team that could be classified as favourites. 

"There will be three or four teams that can do it and it is how you start," he said. "If we gain momentum early, then India are very dangerous because we have got a lot of crowd support and things backing us."

The hosts England, though, have every chance to lift their first World Cup this year, Shastri said, and added that the current side was "the best England team I've seen".

"They have been focussed in picking players who are good in that format of the game and will take their chances from ball one to dictate terms to the opposition," he said.

"We saw England last year in England and they had depth in batting and a lot of players who are multi-faceted. They have five or six guys who can be called upon at any time to bowl and that is what you want."

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