Comparisons with Tendulkar have always followed Kohli ever since he developed into India’s talisman in the batting department. The India skipper continues to go from strength to strength in all three formats of the game and was in excellent form during the team’s recent Test series where he finished as the top-scorer with 593 runs.
The 29-year-old Indian batsman notched up his 23rd Test ton during the tour while displacing Steve Smith at the top of the batsmen’s rankings. However, Ponting feels Kohli has a long way to go before he can be compared to Tendulkar.
“Comparisons are hard to make at this stage of his (Kohli’s) career. You are being compared with someone who has played 200 Test matches. What you remember about Sachin is when he was finishing off. You don’t remember when he was in mid 20s,” the Aussie was quoted as saying by PTI (Press Trust of India).
“Everyone is saying exceptional things about Virat now but let’s see if he can dominate international cricket for about 10, 12 or 15 years which would be a sign of a real champion player. Sachin did that in all three formats. If someone can play 200 Tests its incredible. I myself have played 168 Tests but 200 is something else,” Ponting added.
Tendulkar had scored 15,921 and 18,426 runs in Test and ODI cricket respectively while registering a total of 100 tons in all formats. In comparison, Kohli has so far notched up 6,147 and 9,779 runs in Test and ODI cricket respectively with 58 international centuries to his name.
In what was the batsman’s first innings on Australian soil ever since he was handed a one-year ban by Cricket Australia, Smith fell just 15 runs shy of a century at the Glenn McGrath Oval in Sydney.
Smith and David Warner both turned out for their respective grade-cricket clubs on the weekend with the latter smashing a ton to help Randwick-Petersham chase down St. George’s total of 278.
Smith, meanwhile, was dropped early in his innings before he brought up a fine half-century off 62 balls.
Both Smith and Warner had been handed identical one-year bans from international and domestic cricket for their roles in the ball-tampering episode which occurred during Australia’s tour of South Africa earlier this year.
The bans of the former captain and vice-captain of the Australian team will come to an end on March 25, 2019 and they are expected to be reinstated into the international squad in time for the World Cup in England.
Smith’s return to the grade cricket saw a crowd of reportedly over 1,000 turn up at the Glenn McGrath Oval. His return to cricket on home soil was lauded by his Sutherland team-mate and former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson.
“The support he (Smith) got today shows everyone makes mistakes and that people do forgive,” Watson was quoted as saying by the Canberra Times.
“How Steve has handled it is how you’d expect from someone who cherishes playing for Australia; appreciates the privilege that he’s had. This is just another step along the way for him most importantly getting back in the Australian team,” he added.
Despite not playing international cricket since April this year, Smith remains ranked at No2 among Test batsmen.
In what was an inconsequential dead rubber in the Asia Cup, Afghanistan kept up their impressive form with a commanding 136-run win over Bangladesh at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Having put up a challenging 255-7 on the board after batting first, Afghanistan showed the quality in their bowling attack as they bundled out Bangladesh for just 119 runs.
With Afghanistan taking the top honours in Group B with two wins out of two, we take a look at the talking points.
IMPRESSIVE SHAKIB ROCKS AFGHANISTAN
After Bangladesh debutant Abu Hider had rocked the Afghanistan top-order with two early blows, Mohammad Shahzad and Hashmatullah Shahidi had resurrected the innings with a solid third-wicket stand.
The two batsmen’s fifty-plus partnership was threatening to take the game away from Bangladesh on a slow track before star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan came to the aid of the Tigers.
Despite nursing a finger injury in the tournament, Shakib showed no signs of any discomfort as he put on a master-class of left-arm spin. The Bangladesh star got Shahzad to hole out to long-on before running through the Afghan middle-order like an express train. He accounted for Asghar Afghan, Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi in an extended spell as Afghanistan found the going tough in the middle overs.
BIRTHDAY BOY RASHID KHAN’S CAMEO PROPELS AFGHANISTAN
After Shakib Al Hasan had broken the spine of their batting in the middle-overs, Afghanistan seemed to be headed for a sub-par score at Abu Dhabi before Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib turned the match upside down with an unbeaten 95-run stand for the eighth wicket.
Birthday boy Rashid smashed a 31-ball half-century with the help of eight boundaries and a massive six. It was only the second fifty in ODI cricket for the young wrist-spinner who just turned 20 with his only other half-century coming against Ireland in 2016.
He was ably supported by Naib who remained unbeaten on 42 with the help of eight boundaries. Their terrific acceleration in the death overs spoiled all the good work done by Bangladesh’s bowlers at the start as they went on to ensure that the Tigers would face an imposing chase of 256 on a crumbling surface.
NAIB AND RASHID EXCEL WITH BALL TOO AS TIGERS DISINTEGRATE
After turning on the heat with bat in hand, Naib and Rashid turned heroes for Afghanistan with the ball too as Bangladesh disintegrated on a slow pitch at the Sheikh Zayed stadium.
Naib’s medium pace was deadly effective at the start of Bangladesh’s innings and the 27-year-old inflicted two early blows. He first had the beating of Mominul Haque who edged behind to the wicketkeeper and then got Mohammad Mithun to chop a wide delivery onto the stumps.
His two early wickets meant Bangladesh had lost four wickets before Rashid had even come on to bowl. The wrist-spin prodigy wasted no time in inflicting further misery to a batting-card missing Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal by trapping the well-set Shakib plumb on the pads. He then provided the dagger blow to Bangladesh’s hopes by castling the stumps of Mahmudullah with a sublime googly.
With all of their established batsmen back in the pavilion before the score had even touched 100, the Tigers were always fighting an uphill battle and ultimately lost it in the face of Afghanistan’s enormous quality in their bowling attack.