New Delhi: Hailing Virat Kohli as “ultra-talented”, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting on Monday said the Indian Test captain has got the attitude to be the best for the country.
Ponting said both Kohli and Australia skipper Steve Smith are at the same stage of their respective careers along with England’s Joe Root and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, but feels whoever plays mind games better will end up with a better career record.
“Virat probably got an edge with his ODI career. We have all seen how he played in the last Indian Premier League (IPL). He is an ultra-skilled and talented player but more importantly he has got the attitude to be the best he can be for his country and Smith is also in the same boat,” Ponting told reporters at an interaction here.
“I don’t really care who is the better between Kohli and Smith as long as they are playing well. Williamson or Root, all these are players who are probably on their same career path. Whoever masters the mind games well, will end up with the best career record,” he added.
Kohli has struck 37 international hundreds while Root, Smith and Williamson have 18, 20 and 21 centuries to their names respectively.
The 40-year-old Tasmanian, however refrained from making a comparison between Virat and batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, calling the 26-year-old too young to make a comparison.
“Look lets wait for Virat to finish his career. He’s too young in his career to make any comparison with Sachin. If he gets a bad injury tomorrow, and not playing, so there is no comparison. Sachin played 200 Test matches while Virat has just played 60-70 matches,” he said.
He also said its totally on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to take a call on separate captains for the various formats.
“My opinion does’nt matter, its all about what BCCI thinks or what Mahendra Singh Dhoni thinks about stepping aside, but right now it doesn’t look like MS has got the desire to lead India in the ODIs and T20Is,” he said.
Dismissing allegations that the current Australian Test side is struggling, the two-time World Cup winning skipper however, acknowledged that the upcoming Test series against India in 2017 will be a challenge for Smith’s men.
“I don’t think its (Australia’s recent Test record) is so bad what people would like to think but they are playing against India very soon and that will be a challenge coming to the sub-continent and see how they handle these conditions in Test matches,” he said.
“If you look at one series (against Sri Lanka) in isolation, yeah that is bad. But the Australian team is one of the top three teams in the last 10 years.”
“Coming to one day cricket, we bounced back after a disappointing Test series to win the ODI series quite comfortably. Trust me its not that gloomy and we have some very very talented players in the last two or three seasons.”
“Its not about how many superstars you have in your team. Its about how many Tests you have won for your country. That’s the best reflection of how a team handles the transition phase,” he added.