Sourav Ganguly delivered a brilliant response to Shoaib Akhtar‘s theory about Virat Kohli‘s retirement that would likely leave the former Pakistani fast bowler silenced. Although Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli might not have the closest friendship, their shared objective has always been to elevate Indian cricket to unprecedented levels.
Ganguly accomplished this while captaining between 2000 and 2005, and Kohli replicated it from 2015 to 2021. Despite their differences due to past history, Ganguly stood up for Kohli when Shoaib Akhtar made a noteworthy comment about Virat’s future. As Kohli approaches what could be his final 50-over World Cup, the former Pakistani fast bowler suggested that Virat should step away from ODIs and T20Is to “extend his Test career.”
Sourav Ganguly swiftly defended Virat Kohli against Shoaib Akhtar’s retirement remark
In an interview with RevSportz, Akhtar proposed that by focusing solely on Test cricket, Kohli could play for many more years and potentially surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 centuries.
“I don’t think he should play more 50-overs matches after this World Cup. Also, if you see him in T20s, it takes a lot out of him. I think he should play for at least six more years and break the 100 hundreds record of Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli has it in him to break the record. He should focus on Test cricket after this World Cup, and break this record,” Akhtar made the statement during the ‘Backstage with Boria’ show on Thursday.
Later that night, Ganguly delivered a powerful response that would likely silence Akhtar. The ex-India captain found no rationale in Akhtar’s evaluation and supported Kohli’s right to play according to his own wishes and preferences.
Kohli’s Test performances are undoubtedly remarkable, elevating him to the status of a contemporary cricket great. However, they don’t quite rival the intensity of his achievements in ODIs. Currently, he has gathered 8676 runs from 11 Test matches, ranking him fifth among the highest run-scorers, trailing behind Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, and VVS Laxman.
His record showcases an impressive 29 centuries and a notable average of 49.29. In 2018, Kohli was even honoured with the ICC Test Player of the Year accolade. However, given Kohli’s present form, it’s highly likely that he will soon overtake both Jayasuriya and Ponting. To achieve this, he needs to cover a gap of 532 and 806 runs respectively.
The Indian squad has received a fair share of criticism due to their recent loss in the T20I series against West Indies. This defeat marked their first bilateral series loss against the Caribbean team in 17 years. In defence of Team India, Ganguly urged the team management to offer more opportunities to these young players and appealed to fans to support their players leading up to the World Cup 2023.