Virat Kohli. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)
KARACHI: Pakistan batting great Mohammad Yousuf believes that Indian captain Virat Kohli is in his prime and will soon start getting hundreds again in all formats.
Kohli, considered one of the best current batsmen in the world, has not scored a hundred in any format since 2019.
“Kohli is only 32 and this is the age at which top batsmen hit prime and it is only a matter of time before he starts getting hundreds again,” Yousuf said in an interview.
“To achieve what he has already achieved is formidable and to me, scoring 70 Test and One-day International hundreds (by Kohli) is extreme,” said Yousuf, who has played 90 Tests and 288 ODIs.
Yousuf, who still holds the world record of scoring most Test runs in a calendar year when he made 1788 runs in 2005/06 season, would not like comparing Kohli with legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
“He (Kohli) has done it and jitney praise karo isko kum hai (no matter how much we praise him, it is less). But at same time I don’t think there is a comparison between him and Sachin (Tendulkar).
“Tendulkar was a different class altogether. He scored 100 international hundreds and keep in mind the era he played in and the bowlers he played against,” said the former Pakistan captain.
Yousuf felt that India still continued to produce technically better batsmen as compared to Pakistan.
“Their young batters have always had role models to follow from one era to another. That is why even today, they (India) are producing better batsmen. I was lucky that when I started playing I had players like Inzamam ul Haq and Saeed Anwar to look up to and was also coached by a great like Javed Miandad.”
Yousuf said that stakeholders in Pakistan cricket need to sit down and seriously think about the future because there was a dire need to get young players to also focus on other formats apart from T20.
“Or else, we will face more problems in batting in future,” Yousuf, who is now a batting coach at the PCB’s high performance centre, said.
“T20 is fun cricket and I see it as a blessing in disguise as it had immensely improved the financial status of our players. But at same time, I think you can even be successful in this format by sticking to the basics and intelligent cricket with less percentage of risky shots.”
He noted that batsmen like Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Babar Azam, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith were all perfect examples of this approach.
“Smith is a bit of an exception in his style of play given the way he plays, but then his approach has been very successful in all formats especially in Test cricket.”