'After his poor batting in England in 2014, he would have been under pressure. But he never showed it. The way he has played so far in England has been phenomenal,' Iqbal, who watched Kohli’s century in the opening Test at Edgbaston, said
London: It is a known fact that Virat Kohli the batsman has earned millions of fans across the globe but here is a former Pakistan captain who is impressed with his leadership skills as well. According to him, Kohli’s captaincy is similar to Imran Khan’s.
Former Pakistan cricketer Asif Iqbal, who was born in Hyderabad, has heaped praise on 29-year-old Kohli and admitted that he enjoys his batting in both Tests and limited-overs. He also hailed the current Indian team in England as the best-ever to tour that country.
“After his poor batting in England in 2014, he would have been under pressure. But he never showed it. The way he has played so far in England has been phenomenal,” Iqbal, who watched Kohli’s century in the opening Test at Edgbaston, said.
The ongoing five-Test series between India and England stands at 2-1 in favour of the hosts. The fourth match starts in Southampton on August 30.
Iqbal, who led Pakistan in 1975 and 1979 World Cups, said Kohli’s leadership reminds him of Imran’s captaincy. Imran, who is now the prime minister of Pakistan, took his team to World Cup glory in 1992.
“I think you need players like Virat to draw people to the cricket grounds. The most important thing is that he is producing results as a captain. Imran Khan led from the front. He performed consistently and demanded same commitment from his team-mates. I can see a similarity between Virat and Imran. Virat too performs and commands respects from his team-mates. He has all the qualities to become a successful captain,” Iqbal said.
The 75-year-old, who is now settled in England, is also impressed with India’s fast bowlers.
“They (India) have got seamers to bowl well in English conditions, spinners who can turn things around and the batsmen to score runs. I think their fielding has been top-class during the Test series so far. They have got every department covered,” Iqbal, who played 58 Tests and 10 ODIs for Pakistan, opined.
“I personally enjoy watching Virat bat in all three formats of the game. He always plays proper cricketing shots, be it in Tests or limited-overs. He doesn’t try innovative shots. He scores at a brisk pace without playing any rash shots. The other Indian batsman who I enjoy watching is, Rohit Sharma,” Iqbal said.
Kohli is currently the top Test batsman in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) rankings. He is the leading run scorer in the current series against England with 440 runs in six innings at an average of 73.33.
Talking about Kohli’s dominance with the bat and his rise to the top, Iqbal, who played his final Test in Kolkata, said, “I think Virat is rightly the No. 1 batsman in the world, not just because he is scoring runs against England, but the way he scores his runs. Look at the two centuries he has scored (in the ongoing Test series), especially the one (149) at Edgbaston in tough conditions. If you look at the three Test matches so far, he is way ahead in terms of the leading run scorer from both sides,” he signed off.
Last Updated 9:27 AM IST