Shane Warne in awe of Virat Kohli

Impressed by the way Kohli has endorsed Test cricket, Warne is confident that the longest format will survive. 

Shane Warne: "Virat Kohli is fantastic. I'm loving him."   -  afp

In his long and illustrious career, Shane Warne has come across some of the biggest names in the game, but the Australian spin ace is in awe of India captain Virat Kohli.

Impressed by the way Kohli has endorsed Test cricket, Warne is confident that the longest format will survive. 

"Virat Kohli is fantastic. I'm loving him," Warne said on the sidelines of Rajasthan Royals' 'First Royal' event at a city hotel on Sunday.

READ: There's something Australian about Kohli's Team India

"Virat has said that Test cricket is most important and I believe that Test cricket is the ultimate test for a cricketer. Now with Virat (speaking highly) about Tests, it will survive," Warne said.

"I have seen (Sunil) Gavaskar, Sachin (Tendulkar), Kapil (Dev) but I have to say Virat Kohli (is the favourite Indian cricketer)," he added.

FEATURE: Batting bastion!

But in his heydays, who were the batsmen who troubled him the most?

"Sachin and Lara are fiery. They are class apart. There were Sangakkara, Mahela (Jayawardene), (Ricky) Ponting, (Jacques) Kallis but then, (bowling to) Sachin and Brian had to be the hardest," Warne said.

He also remembers the first time he donned the whites for Australia and considers his debut Test against India in 1992 as his 'best cricketing moment'.

"The best memory was walking into the Sydney Cricket Ground and the board stating: 'Congratulations Shane Warne for becoming the 350th Test cricketer to play Test cricket'. That was special," Warne said.

In that game, he dismissed the current India coach Ravi Shastri, one wicket he continues to hold dear.

Ensuring discipline

As he gears up to take charge of Rajasthan Royals as the franchise's brand ambassador, Warne remembers how he united the team during the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, where the Royals eventually clinched the title. It was all about respect and bringing the team together.

He recalled a funny incident involving Ravindra Jadeja, who he prefers calling a 'rockstar'. To ensure discipline, Warne had introduced innovative team building exercises and he used to punish players in funny ways if they broke the rule.

"So once, Rockstar Jadeja was late. When he walked in to the bus, I asked him to stand up and got him off the bus in middle of the Jaipur city.

"And we got back to the hotel. He had to return on his own. I don't know if he got a lift or not, but that was bringing the team together and maintaining the discipline," Warne said.

Under Warne, Royals won the first and the only IPL title in 2008.