Bengaluru, Dec 6: It is almost inevitable for every present and former cricketer to admire India's Test captain Virat Kohli. Such has been his influence on the field and off it that he keeps getting high praises from fans and experts. And we have a new member in Kohli's admiration club.
Former England captain and one of the most respected voices in world cricket today - Michael Atherton has heaped praises on the 28-year-old Kohli after having watched him closely in the ongoing 5-Test series between India and England. (Kohli bows to Sachin)
With the teams in Mumbai for the 4th Test at Wankhede Stadium starting Thursday (December 8), Atherton, in a column for "The Australian" newspaper, described Kohli as "the most influential figure".
"...the most influential figure in the game is Virat Kohli, India's captain and leading contender for the best allround batsman in the world today," Atherton wrote today (December 6).
"He is certainly the most in-form, as England have found to their cost, given that he has held together India's batting in the first three Tests (he has scored 405 runs at 101.25)," he added.
Atherton, who played 115 Tests for England, and is now a TV commentator and writer, said Kohli was "ubiquitous" as Sachin Tendulkar was during his time.
"It has been fascinating to watch Kohli close up and get a sense of the cricketer who is driving Indian cricket - and, therefore, to a large extent, the game itself - forward. He is ubiquitous, just as Sachin Tendulkar was a generation ago, but with the kind of reach through social media that did not exist when Tendulkar was in his prime," Atherton said.
According to the former England batsman, India, in Kohli, have a cricketer for the 21st century.
"In Kohli, India have a cricketer for the 21st century: fit, driven, obsessive, social media savvy, living the reality of the collusion of cricket and celebrity (he is dating a Bollywood actress) and at home in three formats. A generation ago, they wanted to be like Tendulkar. Not any more," he concluded.