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Indian team has the confidence to compete at a much higher level: Viv Richards

Vivian Richards
Former West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards during an Interview. (Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards has been one of those people who has keenly followed the rise of Virat Kohli. It’s a known fact that the legendary West Indian admires Kohli. He has always shown faith in him and on many occasions stated that Kohli is certainly one of those players who is earmarked to achieve a vast amount of success.

In a recent interview, Richards praised Kohli as a fearless champion and believes the current Indian Test skipper can lead the country successfully against tougher oppositions like Australia and South Africa in their own backyard. Despite rains playing spoilsport on many occasions, India had a great time in the Test series beating the hosts by a handsome 2-0 margin. Kohli aggressive captaincy approach received high praises.

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“The Indian team has done its job here and that’s all you could have done. To me, they played very well and that should create confidence. And it’s nice to have a captain as positive as Virat. His body language says it, the way he is in the field. It should give them the confidence to compete at a much better and higher level, especially Down Under.”

“From what I have seen here, they should. They have won the series handsomely and it opens the door even though you may not have played the best West Indian team. But they did what they had to do… especially Ashwin, coming at six which was new for him and doing so well. I don’t know how he is going to handle it in the future but he is on the right track with bat and ball.”

Also, read – David Warner to captain Australia in the T20I series against Sri Lanka

Many have compared the Indian Test skipper with the legend himself but Richards feels that Virat is Virat and he admires his fearless approach.

“I believe Virat is Virat, but you know how people and spectators are like. I like the way he approaches the innings. He doesn’t have any fears. One of the things I was most impressed with was in Australia when he scored those fours hundreds with the abuse and a lot of things coming your way… he stood his ground. It’s a pity India couldn’t support him in the way he batted.”

“That to me was very special. I like the way he gives it back and this is what competition is all about at the end of the day, so long as no one is hurt and you feel comfortable in the fact that you had competed hard and a few words were said and it’s over. If you are in an aggressive country of fast bowlers and aggressive talk, some people hide. Virat came to the surface and performed. That to me is what champions are all about, the real deal.”

One of the real issues the ICC and cricket boards are facing in the last couple of years is to preserve the Test format. The meteoric rise in the popularity of T20 cricket has cut short the interest of the fans in the Test format. Another huge debate is over the star players choosing T20 cricket over playing Tests.

One of the talking points during the Test series between Indian and West was the absence of popular names like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell. The after effect of the absence of these players was India beat the inexperienced Windies side and pocketed the series without much fuss. Richards stressed on the importance of the format calling it as the backbone of cricket and advised a possible solution to problem.

One of my main suggestions to the governing body is if you can put aside a period of time for individuals who want to play cricket at the highest level as Tests are the backbone of cricket. You have to make sure your best players are available for Test cricket and the best players who come out of that then should be drafted into IPL.”

“Too many young players are jumping the gun and not wanting to play Test matches because of the attraction of T20 cricket. If that can be done, then we can preserve Test cricket. Otherwise we will lose the history which helped create 50-50 and the T20. That would be sad. The Sunny Gavaskars, the Tendulkars, the Bradmans… they won’t be remembered because everybody will be attracted to T20.”

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