Former Australian captain Ian Chappell on Sunday joined the bandwagon of experts who feel that Virat Kohli can fill in the big shoes of retiring Sachin Tendulkar, describing the youngster as the “prince” of Indian cricket.
“With Tendulkar on the verge of retirement, Australian bowlers, past and present, must be sighing with relief that the torment is nearly over. Those expressions of relief are a bit premature. Virat Kohli’s two recent centuries, plundered in winning Indian causes, were eerily similar and a stark reminder of Tendulkar’s feat against Australia in Sharjah in 1997-98,” Chappell wrote in ESPNCricinfo.
“He (Kohli) is now set to take over not only Tendulkar’s coveted No. 4 spot but also his mantle as the Indian player opponents most want out. Long remember the king for he’s (nearly) gone; hail the prince, because he’s still around to torment bowlers,” he said.
Comparing Tendulkar’s two Sharjah centuries with those of Kohli’s two recent tons, Chappell said, “Tendulkar’s first hundred in Sharjah was scored in a game India had to perform exceptionally well to advance to the final, while the second came in the final to pull off an extraordinary win — they were the two best ODI innings I saw Tendulkar play.
“He tore into an Australian attack that included Shane Warne, and in both innings Tendulkar scored at better than a run a ball in an era when that wasn’t an everyday occurrence.
“Kohli went one better than Tendulkar. Both his imperious centuries ended in unlikely Indian victories. That’s not to say Kohli is a better player than Tendulkar, but he has acquired the knack of being at crease when the winning runs are hit in extraordinarily difficult chases.”