Viv: India can occupy ‘great category’ with overseas success

The West Indian great says success in England and Australia will be the ‘next level’ of challenge for Virat Kohli and his team.

Viv Richards did not disapprove of Virat Kohli’s aggression or the practice of sledging.   -  Getty Images

India will have good credentials to enter the “great category” if it replicates its home success overseas, West Indian great Viv Richards has said. In the recently concluded home season, India won 10 of the 13 Tests played, against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.

“I think the next level for him (Virat Kohli) and the team after such success, the teams that you need to encounter overseas, would be Australia and England. And if you can do what you have done here...(then) Indian team will be getting (into the) great category,” Richards told PTI here.

Richards termed the series against Australia as one of the toughest India has faced. “It (India’s home season) has been very good, it’s a formidable record they have set,” he said, praising the team for consistency, and Kohli for leading from the front. “The last series against Australia was one of the toughest encounters....they (India) came through. It was a remarkable achievement,” said the legendary former batsman.

‘I like his aggression’

Richards also praised Kohli for his aggression and for defending the players. “As an individual who likes to see class, not just batting, I like his aggression as a captain. He is going to defend his players at every opportunity, and I see nothing wrong in that.

“India must be blessed to have such an individual who is capable of delivering so much, he defends his team every time and that to me is very special,” Richards said.

He did not see any problem with sledging. “You get a lot...and you give us as much as you get. I see nothing wrong with confrontational side (of sledging). (But) If someone starts playing race card, about someone’s colour of skin, (then) that is rubbish in my opinion,” he added.

Richards is in India to attend the GoaFest as a speaker.