Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has called Virat Kohli the best batsman in the one-day format, but feels it would be ‘premature’ to label him a great in Test match cricket.
“Is he the best batsman in the world? Yeah, he probably is. I thought he was six or seven months ago and he’s probably taken it to another level since then,” Ponting was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday (February 7).
“Is it too premature to call him the best ever? You can probably say that right now as far as his one-day cricket is concerned. His one-day record is outstanding and probably better than anybody that’s ever played the game given how many hundreds (27) he’s made but let’s give him a few years yet in the Test series side of things.
“It’s too early yet to be talking about him being one of the greats. I think the great players we always talk about — the Tendulkars, the Laras, the Kallises — those guys played 120, 130-200 Test matches. Virat’s not even halfway along that path,” he added.
Having said that, Ponting did caution his side against the impending Kohli threat on their four-Test tour to India starting late February. Ponting noted that Australia will need to target Kohli and get him out of his comfort zone to have any shot at succeeding on the tour.
“The one thing about Virat Kohli is whenever there’s any confrontation, he does get a little bit outside of his comfort zone. You can see that he gets ultra-aggressive, which may be a good thing for him or maybe good for the opposition,” he said. “We will wait and see what happens. I think he’s a similar sort of character to me as well. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s pretty animated. He’s a very aggressive player.
“One thing I learnt about playing in India is the momentum that the home team can create, you have to try and stop that.
“Someone like Virat, you have to take his boundary-scoring areas away and make him score his runs in different areas or make him bat for a longer time to make his runs,” concluded Ponting.