Virat Kohli has been compared to football legend Cristiano Ronaldo by West Indies's Brian Lara. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Virat Kohli is one of the greatest cricketers currently in the modern era. He is the only cricketer in the history of the game to average over 50 in all three formats. Kohli is just nine centuries away from breaking Sachin Tendulkar's tally of 51 ODI centuries. The Indian cricket team skipper is nearing 12000 ODI runs and his consistency in all three formats is jaw-dropping. Kohli's efforts in a run-chase is simply commendable and this has gotten the ultimate appreciation from Brian Lara, the former West Indies player who is considered one of the greatest players in the game.
Speaking at an event, Lara says he is in awe of how Kohli has honed his skills to take batting to an "unbelievable level" and he is the cricketing equivalent of soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for his sheer commitment towards the game. "I think it has got a lot to do with Virat's outstanding commitment besides his preparation. I don't think he is any more talented than a KL Rahul or a Rohit Sharma but his commitment to prepare himself properly stands out. He is, for me, the cricketing equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo. His fitness level and his mental strength is unbelievable," Lara said.
For Lara, who scored 11953 runs in Test cricket, Kohli can fit into the best teams of any era -- be it Clive Lloyd's 'Unbeatables' of the '70s or Sir Don Bradman's 'Invincibles' of 1948. "His batting skills are unbelievable. He is a guy you cannot leave out in any era. If a guy is averaging 50 plus in all versions of the game, then that is something which is unheard of," Lara said.
Talk about West Indies cricket and how most of the talented players are being lured by private leagues, Lara refused to call them "mercenaries". "Certainly not," said Lara, who didn't agree with the view, saying some of the illustrious predecessors in the late '70s had already set the precedent by joining Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket (WSC). "Each cricketer has to make a choice. Back in the day in late '70s, there was Kerry Packer and there was an exodus of cricketers. I can't say that there's something that's new. Not everyone will be playing for the West Indies. So if you can make a living playing T20 leagues then why not? I don't see it as a mercenary act," Lara said.
However, he wants Cricket West Indies (CWI) to draw a plan that would keep youngsters interested in Test cricket keeping their below-par show in the longest version during the past few years. "I am hoping that West Indies don't have to get involved in a lower Test level. Series like West Indies vs Australia (Worrell Trophy), West Indies vs England (Wisden Trophy) have always had a legacy created over the years," Lara said.