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At this stage, Virat Kohli is the number one batsman: Jonty Rhodes

South African Cricketer Jonty Rhodes
Former South African Cricketer Jonty Rhodes. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes is currently in India. He is in the country to work with a t20 league that is working on scouting young talent from India. In a recent conversation with PTI, he spoke at length about the various aspects of the Indian cricket. The most notable among all was his awe for the Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli.

Talking about the best cricketer in the world at the moment, Jonty Rhodes had his vote for Virat Kohli. He mentioned that AB de Villiers and Steve Smith are also right up there. However, the consistency of Virat is exceptional. Moreover, with AB de Villiers out with an injury, Kohli is the undisputed number one at the moment.

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“I am standing in India and you would think I am biased, but with the performances Virat Kohli has put in so far and in every format of the game, he has to be the No.1. AB de Villiers has had an operation, so he will be out for a while. I watched Steve Smith in South Africa and he is okay. Virat is one guy you would like to see heading back to the dressing room if you are the opposition bowler or the fielding team because he is phenomenal. He is a finisher par excellence. At this stage, Virat Kohli is no 1,” quoted Jonty Rhodes.

He, however, feels that the workload of Kohli might not help him stay the same for a period as long as Sachin Tendulkar. “With the amount of cricket Virat Kohli is playing right now (since the IPL has been introduced), it will be tough for him to maintain that sort of consistency over a long period of time. Added to that is the burden of captaincy. So far he has performed really well in the short span as captain and he has done well obviously in the build up to that. But can one maintain that consistency when one has the leadership of the country sitting on one’s shoulders too?” asked the swashbuckling fielder.

Rhodes was further asked if MS Dhoni will continue till the 2019 World Cup. The former South African cricketer played a dead bat at it. He remarked that Dhoni is still very fast between the wickets. His wicketkeeping is quick as well. If Dhoni continues to contribute, he will surely last till the 2019 World Cup.

“It is a long time. But have you seen him between the wickets? He is fast as anything and his glove-work is incredible. He is still a great finisher of the game. So you have got a captain with a great deal of experience. Sometimes it is more than the guy who scores all the runs. What matters is, what are you are adding in the dressing room? That you can’t buy in a grocery store, you really can’t, that’s what experience is. If you have got that in your team environment, someone who is performing and playing well, also adding that sort of element especially in World Cup situation, it is a great advantage!” mentioned Jonty Rhodes.

Rhodes also threw light on his view on the captaincy debate. Kohli has been in charge of the national side in the Test format. MS Dhoni continues to captain the side in the limited overs. The South African believes that there is no harm in having split captaincy. He complimented Kohli for doing well in the Test cricket after having taken over as the captain.

“From a Team India point of view, you need a happy environment. Sides have shown that you can have a different Test and ODI captains. So it is not a unique situation. Kohli can play under MS Dhoni in limited overs and can captain in Tests. It is about what is producing the results for India. If Dhoni is not performing, he will know when it’s the time to leave. So it’s not for everybody else to speculate and put him under pressure. Kohli has done a great job stepping into the Test arena as a captain and maybe it is a lot to handle,” said Rhodes.

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