'Kohli's a world class batsman,' says Jimmy Cook

Jimmy Cook speaks about the ongoing series between India and South Africa, the home team's bowling attack and more.

Jimmy Cook (right) gives batting advice to England opening batsman and captain Andrew Strauss in 2011.   -  Getty Images

Jimmy Cook, sadly, played Tests only towards the fag end of his career, after South Africa was readmitted to international cricket in the early 90s, but remains one of the greatest openers produced by the country.

Often playing in conditions that were very tough for the opening batsmen in South Africa and England, Cook made 21143 first-class runs at a stunning average of 50.58 including 64 hundreds.

Chatting with Sportstar here on Thursday, the 64-year-old Cook said, “South Africa is the most difficult place for openers in the entire cricketing world because there always is bounce and seam movement for the pacemen. Survival is extremely hard, especially if you are a visiting batsman.”

Talking about the difficulties faced by the Indian batsmen in the ongoing series, he said, “I think their footwork, apart from that of Virat Kohli, has not been good enough. On the pitches here, you have to go right forward or right back and not poke at the ball outside off. You have got to be patient, `leave’ the ball and punish the loose deliveries.”

Known for his technical expertise, Cook said, “You know, in South Africa, you can even ‘leave’ deliveries on basis of the length because of the bounce. The ball will go over your stumps.”

He admitted it was not always easy for the Indian batsmen to adjust to these conditions. “Look at Shikhar Dhawan, I have seen him playing the pull shot well in India. But he got out trying to play that shot in both innings of the first Test at Newlands because the ball came on to him too quickly.”

Cook was impressed with Kohli. “He’s a world class batsman. Plays with so much intensity, times the ball, picks the gaps. But he needs support from the other end, can’t do the job alone.”

Read: 'India too reliant on Kohli's runs'

Commenting on Cheteshwar Pujara’s running between the wickets, Cook noted, “You don’t have to take risks like that in Test cricket. This is not one-day or Twenty20 cricket. In Tests, you have time. It was poor running.”

He was surprised at the nature of the pitch for the second Test at Centurion. “The Indians missed a chance. They will not get a better pitch than the one at SuperSport Park. It did not have the normal pace and bounce, assisted spin and suited their game. The only thing that went against them was the ball keeping low towards the end.”

Cook, who now coaches young batsmen, was pleased with the South African pace pack. “In Philander, Morkel, Rabada and Ngidi they have a strong pace attack. And you could have Dale Steyn coming in as well. It is not going to be easy for the batsmen.”

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