Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistan fast bowler, has once again hailed Indian captain Virat Kohli for his meteoric rise in international cricket during the course of the last decade.
Akhtar recently appeared on Youtube show ‘Cricket Baaz’, where he recalled Kohli’s initial phase in international cricket, adding that the current Indian superstar was a ‘brat’ like him in the early stages of his career before he embarked on an incredible transformation, impinging himself as one of the greats of the game.
Shoaib Akhtar also hailed the Indian team-management for the amount of faith that they showed in Virat Kohli in the early part of his career.
“Virat Kohli has reached a whole new level, but who is behind the Kohli brand? In 2010, 2011, Kohli was nowhere to be seen. He was part of the circle; he was a brat like me. All of a sudden, the system supported him. The management went around him. He also realised that there’s a lot of reputation at stake,” Shoaib Akhtar said on a YouTube Show Cricket Baaz.
‘If he’s scoring runs, what we can say about it?’- Shoaib Akhtar on Virat Kohli
There have been a lot of comparisons between Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli in the past few years. Kohli looks prime to break his idol’s record of 100 international hundreds. Besides that, Kohli is the youngest to 10000 ODI runs and is only behind Sachin when it comes to scoring ODI hundreds. But Akhtar reckons that Sachin played in a tougher era as compared to Virat.
He, however, added that it’s not Virat’s fault and it takes nothing away from what the Indian captain has achieved.
“It’s not his fault that he’s playing in an era of easy cricket, or if Sachin played in a tougher era or Wasim, Waqar and Inzamam have player a much more competitive brand of cricket. So if he’s scoring runs, what we can say about it?” Shoaib Akhtar said.
Shoaib Akhtar was asked about the criticism that he has garnered from Pakistani fans due to him praising Indian cricketers. Akhtar defended himself by saying that the fact that Virat and Rohit are so consistent that they leave him very little ammunition to fire at them.
“I criticize India as well. But if Virat Kohli has 12,000 runs, what else you can say, Rohit Sharma has two double centuries in One Day cricket, what can you say. The enemy’s qualities should be known among us. Kohli has become the greatest batsman, what can you say, should I say he is a bad person or he is not a good player,” Akhtar said.