Kohli needs to score runs in England for ‘great’ label, says Michael Holding

The great West Indian fast bowler shared his thoughts on a variety of topics with Sportstar here on Thursday.

Michael Holding believes Bhuvneshwar Kumar is India’s best bowler in all conditions.   -  Getty Images

Much like Mohammad Ali on the boxing ring, Michael Holding floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee; running in softly before unleashing thunderbolts.

The great West Indian fast bowler shared his thoughts on a variety of topics with Sportstar here on Thursday.

On the gulf between Virat Kohli and the rest: There is too much difference between Virat and the rest of the Indian batsmen in this line-up. You can see that. I am just waiting for Virat to score runs in England before putting the stamp ‘great’ on him. The rest of the batsmen in the Indian team are way behind him. In my time, India had Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Mohinder Amarnath and Dilip Vengsarkar who all made runs overseas. There wasn’t too much gulf when Sachin Tendulkar was around, Rahul Dravid, V. V. S. Laxman and Virender Sehwag were very good, too. That’s not the case now.

On the need for Kohli to control his emotions on and off the field: He will learn. Viv Richards was like that when he started as captain, would get very emotional about a lot of things, would get upset. But with time he relaxed and the team relaxed with him. Kohli is going through that phase.

Read - Day Two report: Bumrah restores parity for India

On India changing its eleven in 35 successive Tests: I don’t quite agree with that. When we played we picked the team for all conditions, backed our men to succeed in all conditions. You need consistency in selection to build a side. That’s not the case now. Perhaps, it has to do with the work-load issues and playing different formats.

On not being a great believer in ICC rankings: I am a believer in how a team performs in tough conditions, away from home, how it is looking as a team on the field than the rankings. I remember India going to England as the No. 1 side in 2011 and losing 4-0. To me the ranking doesn’t convey much.

On Bhuvneshwar and the rest of the Indian pace pack: Bhuvneshwar is your best paceman for all conditions and I was astounded that he was left out at Centurion. You look at his deliveries in slow motion and the seam is so upright. Bhuvneshwar just tilts it a little either way for movement. He’s faster than before, has control. Mohammed Shami has been inconsistent in this series, engaging one moment, ordinary the next. Bumrah was effective at Centurion where the inconsistent bounce suited his bowling but has to work on his variety. Ishant can be good but can no longer be the leader of the attack.

On comparisons between Hardik Pandya and Kapil Dev: Pandya is nowhere near a young Kapil. He has a long way to go. Kapil was in a different league.

On Lungi Ngidi’s emergence and his combination with Kagiso Rabada: I am not getting carried away by Ngidi yet. You got to give him time to develop, not burden him with too much expectations. The good thing about his action and run-up is that it allows him to bowl at a good pace without taking too much out of his body.

Rabada has all the attributes of a fast bowler. How far he travels will depend on his fitness and how he looks after himself.

On the finest contemporary paceman: Dale Steyn, but he keeps getting injured. He’s got everything, pace, aggression, consistency, skill. He has averaged over five wickets per Test over an extended period.

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