Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas hailed Virat Kohli as the best among the current crops and backs him to break records set by Sachin Tendulkar. “I think at the moment Virat is the best. He will break all the records (set by Tendulkar,” said Abbas in on GTV News before stating that Kohli is not the only big player in the Indian squad. “But not only Virat, the Indian team also has other top batsmen too. If you look at Rohit Sharma, you are just delighted to watch his strokes. One can only appreciate the beauty of his strokes. The variety of strokes in possession of Indian batsmen counts a lot,” he said.
The 71-year-old said that their superiority boils down to skills. “Obviously, the confidence will come when you have so many strokes and when you know how to stay at the wicket. These skills don’t come easily. It takes time and hard work and one needs to develop a system for this,” he said.
Abbas also hailed the fact that India have grown an enviable crop of fast bowlers such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah etc. “Not only their batsmen but even their bowlers. They have improved a lot and this is because their board had the foresight to set up the MRF pace academy years back and get Dennis Lillee as their first coach to help groom their pacers,” he said.
“India at this moment is a top side. Their standards have improved a lot specially after the IPL because they don’t allow their players to go and play anywhere else. They are giving so much financial security to their players,” said Abbas.
He also stated that with that regard, Pakistani players like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are yet to reach that level. “They are our players and I want to see our batsmen do very well. But at this stage, they have not reached that standard that I can feel proud of. They haven’t come up to world standards as yet,” he said.
Pakistan’s biggest triumph over the past two years have been the ICC Champions Trophy in which they ran over overwhelming favourites India in the final. However that has been a rare victory in a succession of defeats for Pakistan in the rare instance that they do play their arch-rivals. Abbas said that Pakistan need to learn from their neighbours, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka while stating that the lack of home matches is hurting the sport. “I think we need to get over it (Champions Trophy win) and move on. Unfortunately, in our cricket culture success hides every weakness. We need to learn from our neighbours. Not only India but also Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who have improved so much now. Home series are very important as it allows youngsters to watch their role models and learn from them. Tours by foreign teams allow our players to also get more exposure and experience of playing against international players,” he said.