Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli (Getty Images)
KOLKATA: Former captain Sourav Ganguly remains the “catalyst” for transformation of Team India and the “fearless” Virat Kohli has taken it to another level, remarked ex-England cricketer David Lloyd on Wednesday.
The cricketer-turned-commentator was referring to the India-Australia Test rivalry in the early 2000s when the Ganguly-led India first won an epic home contest 2-1 before securing a 1-1 draw Down Under in a classic four-Test series to retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
“I’m a massive fan of Ganguly by the way. I think Sourav Ganguly gave the team a real steel that we will not be dictated by quick bowlers because we’re going to find some of our own players,” the 73-year-old said in a chat show on Sony Ten’s Pit Stop.
“It was always a suggestion that India, away from home, don’t like the bouncing ball. Ganguly went to Australia fully prepared for the bouncing ball.
“Of course, India in India, it is unbelievably difficult. But you always felt that India away from home that you’ve got every chance. Ganguly was the catalyst. Ganguly, and there was the duo of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
Ganguly is one of the most successful Indian Test captains to date, winning 21 out of 49 matches with 11 of them coming away from home.
“…Now if you’re bringing a quality spinner and you’ve got a couple of pacemen, you’re in business, not only in India, you’re in business worldwide. And I think Ganguly has been a massive influence on Indian cricket. I think he’s been the catalyst for Indian cricket to be a worldwide force,” he said.
In the current times, the former English left-hander said Kohli has taken the team to another level.
“Apart from his (Kohli) greatness as a player he is a great leader. He’s a fighter and he fears nothing. That is so important. He fears nothing.”
“I think my own view about Kohli is that he is there to win matches. He’s not there to accumulate runs for himself, he is there to win matches and ‘I will lead by example because I’m the best’,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd was also all praise for Ben Stokes and put him in the list of great all-rounders such as Gary Sobers, Ian Botham, Andrew Flintoff and Kapil Dev.
“He’s a really fine cricketer and in that all-round category of the greats, from England point of view, Botham, Flintoff, Kapil Dev in India and all-time Windies great Gary Sobers. He has cemented himself in that place.”
Stokes scored 176 from 356 balls in the first innings of the second Test against West Indies under difficult conditions, only to change gears in the second essay to smash the fastest Test fifty by an English opener.
Stokes, who climbed to the number one position in the ICC all-rounder rankings, also claimed three wickets to help his side win by 113 runs and tie the three-match series 1-1.
Reflecting on the match, the English commentator felt that the Jason Holder-led side messed it up in the first hour’s play after they put England in by bowling terribly.
“The call at that point was a right one with the dampness around. It did rain for three weeks without any sunshine. It was a cloudy day. But in the first hour, they bowled terribly.
“It was shocking. They bowled outside the line and should have made them play. Wests Indies did not really recover from that,” he said.
The third and final Test is beginning on Friday.