‘Kohli could become India’s most successful cricketer ever’

Former India batsman, Amay Khurasiya, loves the aggression of Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli will be playing for Surrey during the month of June and will miss the historic occasion as India plays host to Afghanistan.   -  AFP

Amay Khurasiya didn’t want to miss out on the IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Monday. “It is like getting to watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in my hometown,” he told Sportstar.

He was referring to Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers. He didn't quite get his wish, though, as de Villiers didn't have to bat, but he got to see Kohli play some lovely strokes as he took RCB past KXIP’s low score.

Being an attacking batsman himself, Khurasiya loves the aggression of Kohli.

On his ODI debut, he stepped out and lofted the second ball he faced over the head of the bowler. He went on to make 57 off 45 balls, against Sri Lanka at Pune in 1999.

The left-hander, however, played only 11 more ODIs for India. He was part of the 1999 World Cup squad, but never got to play a match.

“It was very frustrating,” he said. “I could have been considered for a game or two. I asked captain Mohammed Azharuddin why I wasn’t; he had no answer.”

Among his memories from that World Cup are watching, as the 12th man, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid putting together a masterly display at Taunton against Sri Lanka and Sachin Tendulkar returning from his father's funeral to score a hundred against Kenya.

He hopes Kohli preserves himself like Tendulkar did. “Kohli has the talent to become India's most successful cricketer ever,” he said. “I was mighty impressed by the double hundred he scored in the Indore Test against New Zealand in 2016 without hitting a single six; that was just a few months after scoring four hundreds in the IPL.”

Looking back at his career, Khurasiya said he regretted he could not play Test cricket, despite doing well in First Class cricket for Madhya Pradesh season after season. “I believe I could have made my India debut long before that,” he said. “In 1993, I had scored a hundred against Graham Gooch's England for India Under-25 at Cuttack,” he said.

Among his team-mates were Rahul Dravid, Ajay Jadeja, Abey Kuruvilla, Samir Dighe and Sairaj Bahutule, all of whom played Tests.

Now chief coach at the MPCA Academy, Khurasiya is happy that his ward pacer Avesh Khan, who has clocked 149.12 kmph for Delhi Daredevils at the IPL, is shaping up well. “I was delighted to hear Glenn McGrath and Dravid speak highly of him,” he said. “But I hope the MP selectors give him a decent run in First Class cricket.”