Kuala Lumpur: Former India captain Kapil Dev says his country’s batting star Virat Kohli has the ability to “break more records than anyone else”, including the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
Kohli became the fastest batsman to score 19 One Day Internationals in last month’s Asia Cup, reaching the milestone in just 124 innings. He broke the world record held by his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Chris Gayle, who took 189 innings for the West Indies to reach the figure.
Dev, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday, said such batting brilliance could see Kohli surpass the formidable feats of the Little Master, the only man to score 100 tons in Tests and ODIs combined.
An ambassador for the awards, Dev said: “Can he [Kohli] become one of India’s greatest batsmen? Yes, without any doubt. I think he will break more records than anyone else.”
Asked by Gulf News whether Kohli has the potential to be better than Tendulkar, who retired last November after a record-filled, 24-year career, Dev replied: “I don’t compare. Can anyone be better than [legendary Australian batsman] Don Bradman? I see talent and ability in this young boy – amazing, huge. He’s only 24 years old. Is he as good as Tendulkar? Maybe better.
“As a human being, you have to look at the next generation and want them to have better record, a better performance. Virat Kohli has so far shown that he has more ability than anybody else. He is breaking all the records and can play to the age of 32 or 34 if he stays fit and injury-free. Not even [former West Indies great] Viv Richards or Sachin Tendulkar had such a record.”
Should Kohli replace Dhoni as skipper for India’s summer tour of England? “No,” said the man who led India to 1983 World Cup glory. “When you have a senior captain like Dhoni, it will always cause confusion if you made Kohli captain and have Dhoni under him. That’s not fair for the team.”
“If Dhoni is not there, he will get his chance,” Dev added. “Why should we push him so early? It’s not his time. He’s young and he is captain of his Indian Premier League side [Royal Challengers Bangalore] and has captained India in other matches. Dhoni is a mature captain, so let him do that until the day he retires. If he is fit enough, I think Dhoni should be the captain at the 2015 World Cup, no doubt.
“He is one of finest batsmen we have. No other batsman in the world averages over 50 playing at No. 6 or 7. There’s no better finisher than him in world cricket. Why have a doubt about him ? He’s won the Twenty20 World Cup [in 2007] and the 50-over World Cup [in 2011].”