It takes one legend to acknowledge another. It also takes one legend to acknowledge another legend in making. Former Indian skipper and World Cup hero Kapil Dev made no bones about the impression present Indian skipper Virat Kohli has left on him with his batting feats and record wins. The great Indian all rounder believes that if Kohli continues scoring runs at the pace that he is and remains fit, he could well be counted as a modern cricketing great ahead of The Don.
"I am surprised by how fast Virat is going! Sometimes I get scared from inside. But Virat has set the benchmark for fitness especially so high, that if he keeps performing like he is now and keeps his fitness at the same level in future too, people will talk about him ahead of Sir Don Bradman," Kapil said.
The Haryana Hurricane was speaking at the launch of the book , "Numbers do lie" authored by former India Test opener Aakash Chopra along with Jaydeep Verma of Impact Index in New Delhi.
Kapil, never shy of talking straight, minced no words in appreciating Kohli. Elaborating on why he believed Kohli could surpass Bradman, Dev said, "Today is the era of Television. we can see and judge how good Kohli is. It is unbelievable what he has achieved in last 12 Tests. One feels lucky to know him."
Asked whether Kohli was even better than his cricketing hero Si Vivian Richards, Dev didn't blink an eyelid in replying that, " Kohli is a mixture of Viv and Sachin Tendulkar. Viv is my hero, in our time there was no one better than Viv. Virat undoubtedly has more ability."
The former Indian skipper said what he most appreciated was the Delhi boy's ability to look straight into the opposition bowler's eyes and take him head on. "He takes the fast bowlers head on. The attitude that he has is wonderful."
Dev, on a lighter note, described Kohli's current imperious form as a golden period where he is doing everything right—be it batting, winning toss and even taking correct calls on the Decision Review System!
On another note, while discussing what makes an impact player and constitutes an impactful knock, Kapil rated his teammate Sunil Gavaskar as the greatest impact player. In a tribute to his skipper, Dev said, "If you can draw Test matches and not lose them is much greater than winning a match. Sunny is one person who could draw every Test match because he did not have a team that could win every Test match. India at that times wasn't rated as one of the best teams but despite that he drew lots of matches for us."
The book is about statistics and the need to look beyond them and dig out stuff that tells totally different stories using the statistics. It sets out parameters for what constitutes greatest performance or performer, most impactful player etc.