Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar says he did not understand outgoing Team India coach Ravi Shastri’s comments supporting Virat Kohli.
In communication with a media house recently, Shastri had said that if Virat Kohli would have continued as Test skipper of the Indian team, he would have at least won 50-60 more matches for India, but not many would have been able to digest his achievement.
Manjrekar told News18 that he has a lot of respect for Shastri, who was his teammate once. Terming Shastri as “Shastri 2.0”, Manjrekar said he has played under Shastri and admires him a lot. Manjrekar also called him “a great fighter and a senior”, but said he doesn’t understand “this Shastri 2.0”. “I don’t want to be disrespectful. He (Shastri) doesn’t make very intelligent comments, you can see the agenda behind it. It’s not an accurate cricketing observation,” Manjrekar added.
Virat Kohli’s seven-year stint as captain of India’s Test team came to end with a defeat in the Test series against South Africa recently, but his popularity and the respect that he commands among cricketing greats and the fans hasn’t diminished much.
Ravi Shastri, who teamed up with Virat Kohli to take Indian cricket to its peak, said recently that the Delhi lad could have continued as the skipper for two more years had he not stopped enjoying being a captain.
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Kohli first quit as the skipper of the T20 squad after the World Cup debacle in Dubai and was removed unceremoniously as the leader of the ODI squad just ahead of the South Africa tour.
Kohli may not have won any ICC trophy during his tenure as captain, but he made a name for himself with his aggression, fitness and ability to mould and lead a bunch of youngsters to glory. Considering he had giant shoes to fill in, with his predecessor MS Dhoni leading India to two World Cup titles, Kohli, his admirers say, went on to make a place for himself which is unique and worth emulating for future captains.
The right-handed batter can be credited for making the Indian Test team number 1 in Test rankings. It was under his leadership that India won its first Test series in Australia in 2019. Till date, Virat Kohli remains the best Indian Test captain with 40 wins and 17 losses in 68 Tests as captain. He also ranks fourth in the list of most victories as Test captain behind South Africa’s Graeme Smith (53) and Australian duo of Ricky Ponting (48) and Steve Waugh (41).
India will next play West Indies in three ODIs and three T20Is in February.