Having played against Sachin Tendulkar and watched Virat Kohli over the last half-dozen years, Imran Khan has delivered his verdict – the current Indian Test captain is temperamentally better than international cricket’s most prolific run-marker, and is more skilled at performing under pressure as well.
“Cricket has had eras. In the 80s, it was Viv Richards, and then you had Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar who stood out,” Imran told Hindustan Times. “Virat Kohli is one of the most complete players I’ve seen. He’s so versatile; he plays on both feet, and on all sides of the field.
“Apart from his talent and technique, he has a very good temperament. His temperament is better than Sachin’s. Kohli performs at the most difficult of opportunities, which Sachin sometimes wasn’t able to.”
Imran, who led Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup triumph, was at the Eden Gardens during the World T20 as one of several former captains from India and Pakistan felicitated by the chief minister of West Bengal. At the function just before the toss, Imran had hoped for a similar result to the one when he led Pakistan against India at the Eden three decades back, but Kohli fuelled India’s chase of Pakistan’s modest total of 118 for 5 in 18 overs with a classy unbeaten half-century.
“It was very painful watching Pakistan lose, but Kohli played a very good game,” Imran conceded. “I look at batsmen from a bowler’s point of view and I think of how to get them out. Just look at how Kohli plays in difficult situations. He’s better than anyone. I’d say he’s the best internationally, today. You can back him to play any match.”