'Virat reminds me a lot of Imran Khan', says Ravi Shastri

Kohli's six innings in the ODI series were - 112, 46 not-out, 160 not out, 75, 36 and 129 not out. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 05, 2018, 01.34 PM (IST)


Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri, who has always commended Virat Kohli irrespective of his poor form, on Monday compared the skipper's playing ability with Pakistan's World Cup winning captain Imran Khan.

Shastri lauded Virat's form in the recently-concluded South Africa tour saying, he has created a niche for himself in cricket and is already there among the very best in the world. 

"It's still early days for Virat. He is still very very young. But he is already there among the very best. He wants to lead by example. He reminds me a lot of Imran," Shastri said in an interview. 

"He is still very young but he has got lot of qualities that Imran had when it came to leading a side. Which is great," he added. 

Kohli, who is ranked as No. 1 batsman in one-day internationals, was in imperious form against the Proteas becoming the first batsman ever to score 500 or more runs in a bilateral ODI series.

Kohli's six innings in the ODI series were - 112, 46 not-out, 160 not out, 75, 36 and 129 not out. 

On being asked about the similarities between Imran and Kohli, Shastri said both players have the desire to be on the top and the infectious energy level they both possess made him draw the comparison.

"Just the ability to always want to dominate, want to compete, irrespective of whatever conditions you get, believe that you can do it and when you have that kind of quality it spreads among the other players as well. And that was very similar to the way Imran led."

"I think he was fantastic on the last trip. It was a tough trip," he added.

After a 1-2 Test defeat to hosts South Africa, not many believed that the 'Men in Blue' could do something complacent in the ODIs. Yes, they did script an impelling victory on a "challenging" Johannesburg track in the final Test

Speaking on Kohli's leadership and performance in South Africa, Shastri said, "When you are the leading batsman in the side plus the captain, plus the conditions you get, plus the side that you are playing which is formidable, you need to be on top of your game.

"Mentally and physically. And he did just that. For someone to score 870-plus score on a single tour in two months, is an unbelievable achievement. Really unbelievable achievement," the coach added. 

After losing the first two tests, India made a comeback by winning the third test and the six-match series by 5-1. 

In the T20Is, India edged past the hosts 2-1.