When ace cricketer Virat Kohli switches to football for the Indian team’s customary pre-match drill, he plays it as if it’s the Fifa World Cup final or the FA Cup final, says former England skipper Nasser Hussain.
Hussain, who has played international cricket for more than a decade and is a busy commentator nowadays, expressed his amazement at Kohli’s intensity and his hunger to succeed.
Hussain, who led England from 1999 to 2004, was speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“I think it’s his hunger for runs and his wanting to win. I watched him play football before… The Indian team plays football, and he plays as if it’s the World Cup final, the FA Cup final, the last game in the Premier League,” Hussain said.
“He takes that into cricket, that’s why he’s so brilliant in a run chase. You give him a situation where he could win a game, whatever that game is, and that is all he is focused on. His drive for winning is second to none.”
Kohli has been amassing big runs for the past few years but Hussain said the India captain is not worried about personal records.
“I honestly believe that he’s not worried about stats, or (you could say) the only stat that he’s worried about is the win-loss ratio,” he said.
“I remember speaking to Duncan Fletcher about it when Duncan first saw him… He said, ‘watch out for this lad, he has a real fight and character about him’.
“And he was spot on! You can have his ability, you can have all the money and everything that goes with Virat Kohli. The thing that stands out from the rest is that he’s a winner.”
Fletcher was the coach of the Indian team from 2011 to 2015.
The Kapil comparison
Former India opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth feels that current captain Kohli can be compared with the legendary Kapil Dev, as both have tremendous self-belief and never-say-die attitude.
Srikkanth was part of Kapil’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad, while Kohli featured in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team that won the 2011 edition of the showpiece.
“I’ve played along with Kapil Dev and I’ve been the chairman of selection committee for choosing Virat Kohli… I can tell you, both of their attitudes are absolutely the same,” Srikkanth said on the ‘Cricket Connected’ show.
“Both have tremendous amount of self-belief and they know they only go out with the intension to win. The never-say-die attitude in them and the aggressiveness makes them fantastic during chases and the positive attitude both of them have makes them very similar to each other.”
On the same show, former batsman VVS Laxman said that Kohli never lets his guard down.
“The one thing I admire about Virat Kohli is his intensity. One thing I was worried about was whether he will burn out quickly. But not even for one session or one over he lets his intensity drop and that is really commendable,” Laxman said.
Kohli averages above 50 in all forms in international cricket. In Tests, he has aggregated 7,240 runs at an average of 53.62 and in ODIs, he has amassed 11,867 runs at nearly 60.