Indian captain Virat Kohli on field (AP Photo)
- Virat Kohli among the best captains going around: Harbhajan
- Kohli will lead India in his 50th Test as captain vs South Africa in Pune
- Harbhajan said Rohit can make a big impact as opener for India in Tests
Virat Kohli's captaincy has earned him brickbats and accolades in equal measure. Many will present his record in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he has endured more failures than success, to substantiate his below par captaincy but in India jersey, his captaincy record is unmatched.
Virat Kohli is already the most successful Indian captain with 29 wins in 49 Tests. On Thursday when Virat will walk onto the field to lead India in the Pune Test it will be his 50th Test as Indian captain. He will go past Sourav Ganguly (49) and MS Dhoni (60) will remain as the only player to have led India in more Tests than him.
Despite these strong numbers, Virat has had to face some serious questions over his selections calls and some on-field decisions. But for Harbhajan Singh, Virat is the best captain in the world at the moment.
"If you see Virat's (captaincy) record, he has won more number of matches than any other (Indian) captain. There are only a few other names (international captains) who have won more Tests than him. So he must be doing something better than others," Harbhajan told India Today.
"Whether people like it or not that's their opinion. In my opinion, he is doing a great job for India as a leader, showing how to win games not just in India but overseas too. The way he handled pressure in Australia, was remarkable. There were lot of expectations on him not just as a captain but also as a batsman, and he came out like a champion.
"I hope he achieves the milestones, he has set for himself. He wants to be the best captain in the world and in my opinion he is the best," the veteran off-spinner proclaimed.
Harbhajan, who has 417 wickets to his name in 103 Tests, was also effusive in his praise for Rohit Sharma as a Test opener. Although he stopped short of calling Rohit the next Virender Sehwag of Indian cricket in Tests, he believes the Mumbai marauder can cause a similar impact that Sehwag had in his heydays.
"I don't want to compare Rohit with anyone. But yes, Virender Sehwag had the biggest impact on the opposition. If you didn't get Sehwag out, you would find him batting on 250 or 270 by the end of day's play.
"Rohit is no less and is more than capable of scoring big in a similar fashion. Rohit has a better technique (than Sehwag) and he could be even more dangerous. With Sehwag you knew he will go after you once he was set but with Rohit, he will play those shots that you would think he is not looking to play but will still hit you far enough.
"This is the best decision that the team management has taken in the recent past. I think, with Rohit opening and scoring those runs in that fashion, it is a great for Indian cricket going forward. I would like the management to continue with him for at least 8-10 games," said Bhajji, who has seen both Sehwag and Rohit from close quarters.
Meanwhile, Harbhajan insists that South Africa will find it tough to reverse the result in the Pune Test, following a 203-run defeat against India in Visakhapatnam.
He said toss will play a crucial role if the Proteas are to do better in the second Test, otherwise they are in for a difficult time against a superior Indian team.
"I don't think South Africa will be able to get the result they want. India are way too strong for them. Toss also becomes very crucial. If you see the Vizag Test, there wasn't much for the bowlers on the first two days. So, South Africa will have to win the toss, bat well to post something around 450 and then bowl well. But unfortunately, I don't think South Africa have the bowlers to trouble this Indian batting.
"It should be 3-0 (series win in favour of India) but will also depend on the surface. Last game at Pune, we saw a rank turner. But keeping surface aside, India should sweep South Africa 3-0," Harbhajan said.