Ganguly: Kohli will remove shirt if India wins World Cup

The former India captain had famously removed his shirt at Lord’s in 2001; he suggests Virat Kohli would emulate the feat.

Sourav Ganguly (left)... “We better get our cameras ready, as [Kohli] has got six packs.”   -  AFP

Virat Kohli has agreed to pull off his shirt and walk around Oxford Street shirtless, if India wins the 2019 World Cup.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly had famously removed his shirt in celebration after India had won a One-Day International tri-series at Lord’s. Ganguly suggested Kohli would emulate the feat, and Kohli agreed. “I can guarantee you now, if he wins the World Cup final at Lord’s in 2019. We better get our cameras ready, as he’s got the six packs, I would not be surprised if he’s on the Oxford Street with the Trophy and his shirt off,” Ganguly said during a book launch in Kolkata.

Ganguly added, “And I can tell you who will be following him — Hardik Pandya.”

Kohli replied, “120 per cent.”

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Kohli added, “I don’t think it will only be me because there will be a lot of people with six packs in the team. We will all be roaming shirtless. Hardik Pandya, there’s Bumrah as well... We have got a few candidates.”

Ganguly recalled his shirt-waving moment from 17 years ago. “The best thing that happened at Lord’s was, as I was taking the shirt off, Laxman was pulling it down. Then Harbhajan, next to me, asked what should I do? ‘I said you take it off too.’”

India ‘can do it’

Ganguly said Kohli’s men have it in them to win the World Cup next year. “Yes of course, they can do it. They played the Champions Trophy final last year. Let’s not get too far ahead. Wish them all the best. They have got some wonderful talent. Hopefully they will be there. We want them to win, and whichever way it’s celebrated it’ll be up to them.”

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Ganguly showered praise on Kohli; he said he transformed himself after his disastrous England tour in 2014. “Look at his transformation. He struggled in England and in less than six months, he scores four hundreds in four Tests. I’ve not seen any Indian batsman play so well in Australia. We all got hundreds in Australia, Sachin, Rahul, V. V. S., I have but what he did in those four Tests was something I’ve not seen for a long time. That actually transformed him.”

Ganguly acknowledged the value of fitness for success in international cricket. “There’s a purpose to it. It may sound old-fashioned. But there’s a meaning to it. Over the years, he has realised you play the best when you are the fittest,” Ganguly said.

Changed ‘culture and mindset’

Ganguly elaborated on a ‘change of culture and mindset’ under his captaincy that elevated the Indian team. He said, “We were always a good team at home, the pitches spun. We had the best spinners and at times we never needed to captain. Every time I got tired, I would stand at point and let Kumble and Harbhajan do the job. It needed of change of culture and mindset. We for the first time had an overseas trainer, coach and a physio. Before that we used to have manager and coaches for every tour.

“The mindset changed, and understood that if we have to be become a better team we have to go and win away from home.”