Kolkata: Heaping praise on skipper Virat Kohli and the entire Indian team, batting great and former India captain Gundappa Viswanath on Sunday said cricket in the country is on the right track with the U-19 team also winning the World Cup and the eves on an upward spiral.
“Everyone knows what he (Kohli) is doing, it’s absolutely brilliant. Consistency is amazing, the hunger for runs ... and the aggressiveness. I hope he continues in the same vein. His confidence is telling on his team, the team is also doing well,” Viswanath told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
“India will play mostly away now, but the confidence they are showing augurs very well for the Indian team.”
Asked about the U-19 team winning the World Cup in New Zealand recently beating Australia, Viswanath said Indian cricket is on the right path with the women’s team also doing so well in South Africa.
“Winning against the Aussies in the final shows the system is very good. This is what Indian cricket needs and they are in right direction. The women’s team is also doing well so it shows that Indian cricket is in good shape.”
The Mithali Raj-led eves won the three-match ODI series 2-1 in South Africa and in the five T20s, have triumphed in the first two.
Coming to Kohli, the 29-year-old amassed 558 runs to guide India to a 5-1 victory in the recently-concluded One-Day International (ODI) series against hosts South Africa. He has already scored 35 centuries in 208 ODIs.
Kohli became the first batsman ever to score 500 or more runs in a bilateral ODI series. Kohli’s six innings in the series were 112, 46 not out, 160 not out, 75, 36 and 129 not out.
Quizzed going by the way he is batting, if he can break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 centuries, Viswanath said, “He is showing that because of his consistent performances and getting hundreds every now and then. It’s a tall order and records are meant to be broken. I think Sachin will be happy if he breaks that feat. Still long way to go.”
On Kohli’s captaincy, the 69-year-old, known for his stylish batting and late-cut, said the results have underlined his acumen.
“The results are showing. The last couple of series in India, most of the teams they play in India, we win. We came close to beating South Africa in the first Test. We did not win the series but we came back strongly to win the last Test. I have confidence in this team to do well when they travel abroad as well,” he said.
Viswanath did not rule out Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja playing the 2019 50-over World Cup in the wake of wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal doing so well.
“It’s a very healthy competition. Ashwin has done tremendously well and also Jadeja in Tests. So you can’t rule them out. At the same time, the two young spinners picking up more than 30 wickets between them is absolutely brilliant.
“Wrist spinners always come good as they can turn on any wicket. Kuldeep is showing amazing consistency. South Africa haven’t picked his wrong one well,” he said.
On former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni continuing till the World Cup, Viswanath said, “The way it’s going, they need Dhoni. The selectors and team management want to have Dhoni till the World Cup at least.
“He takes time to get going these days but when he starts playing his strokes he is still dangerous.”