Sourav took India-Australia rivalry to another level, says Buchanan

John Buchanan credits Sourav Ganguly for the turnaround in Indian cricket, and finds glimpses of the former India captain in Virat Kohli.

Sourav Ganguly and John Buchanan during their time in IPL at Kolkata Knight Riders.   -  PTI Photo

John Buchanan, who coached Australia between 1999 and 2007, has witnessed many a hard-fought battle between India and Australia and remembers how his star-studded side went down to India in 2001. While he credits Sourav Ganguly for the turnaround in Indian cricket, Buchanan finds glimpses of the former India captain in Virat Kohli.

“Once Sourav took over, he instilled a different way of not only playing, but also a different way of just conducting themselves against strong oppositions like Australia. It was a developing rivalry for sure, but Sourav was able to take it to another level. Like Ganguly, Kohli has done the same thing for the Indian team,” Buchanan told Sportstar from Brisbane, ahead of India’s three-month long tour of Australia.

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Under Kohli’s leadership, India clinched a Test series in Australia for the first time since Independence. And Buchanan was impressed with the way Kohli led the side. “He (Kohli) has done an incredibly good job - irrespective of whether he is scoring runs or not. If we go back to 2019, (Cheteshwar) Pujara was the star of the series and Kohli made some contributions, so did (Ajinkya) Rahane... But Kohli’s real contribution is his leadership and captaincy and the way he instills greatness - not only to win games, but also in finding a way to beat teams,” Buchanan said.

Kohli factor

This time, Kohli will return home after the first Test, to be with his wife Anushka Sharma, who is expecting their first child. “I think his absence in the final three Tests is going to play a pivotal part in the way the series plays out,” Buchanan said.

This will be India’s first Test assignment since February and the players will find it challenging to stay in a controlled environment for long. “There hasn’t been a lot of Test cricket. They are going to be inside a bubble for at least two months and I do believe that someone like Kohli is a very positive person, engaging person, who cares about his team very much off the field as well… Whoever replaces him - which is probably going to be Rahane - might be a good leader, but Kohli has something special about him. It’s not only on the field, but they will also be missing him off-the-field, because it's going to be a long tour,” the former Aussie head coach stated.

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With COVID-19 cases spiking in Adelaide again, there are chances that some venues could be changed, and Buchanan agrees that a lot of factors will be in play. “Neither teams have experienced these things before, but nonetheless, it makes it even harder for the touring team when these are the circumstances surrounding you and the environment,” Buchanan said.