Former Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara heaped praise on Indian batsmen Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma for their consistency across all formats.
Kohli and Sharma have developed into one of the best batsmen among the current crop, with the former being equally effective in all formats of the game.
“If you take the modern-day game, India has two of the best players in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who play orthodox cricket but are absolutely destructive in any format of the game,” Sangakkara was quoted as saying in Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected.
“They don’t have to really muscle the ball with too much effort or look ugly doing it. They just play good cricket shots and results come,” he added.
Robin Uthappa, who has shared the dressing room with both cricketers feels they both have special abilities that most other cricketers cannot replicate.
“When I look at Rohit Sharma it seems like he has an eternity to play a ball. It just baffles you. Where does he create that time? It’s just effortless,” Uthappa said of the Mumbai Indians captain.
“When you watch Virat from one version of the game to another, you can see how he’s planned for each version of the game,” Uthappa said.
“In one-day cricket, he almost never hits the ball in the air unless it’s absolutely required during the course of the game. Similarly in Test cricket. He’s only going to hit the ball in the air once he’s passed 130 or 150. But in T20 cricket he pulls out the big shots. So bowlers have to plan accordingly for every format,” he added.
“For me, it’s just phenomenal and inspiring. I think what must be going through that mind to be able to conceive those ideas that these are my shots for ODIs, these are my shots for T20s and these are my shots for Tests,” he continued.
Sangakkara felt Kohli and Sharma have defined the art of batting in the modern era where you constantly shuttle between formats and play a lot of cricket.
“Rules have changed and run-scoring might have become slightly easier in one-day cricket. But the fact remains that to be so consistent across all formats, especially in T20 cricket, it’s incredibly hard with the volume of cricket that India keeps playing,” the Sri Lankan said.
“In every era, there is a defining pair of cricketers or defining cricketers, in the modern era, it’s Rohit and Virat for sure,” he added.
‘Health is paramount’
Sangakkara also reflected on the new ICC guidelines and felt a collective effort was needed from all stakeholders in the game for it to resume safely post the pandemic.
The International Cricket Council recommended appointing Chief Medical Officers and 14-day pre-match isolation training camps in guidelines issued for the safe resumption of cricket after the break due to coronavirus pandemic.
The governing body also suggested considering chartered flights and seat spacing to ensure physical distancing.
“I understand the guidelines are going to restrict players, playing of the game, it’s going to look really weird, and off-putting even for me when I think about it. But the priority is health and safety. Health is absolutely paramount at this time, especially for players to have the confidence to get back to cricket, to get back to playing, to have grounds may be at some point open to spectators,” he said.
“If that environment of safety and health is not there, then the doubts keep coming back. So, we have to be really careful there, and understand that all these new rules are to try and make it as safe as possible even though it seems very, very detailed and extensive,” he added.
The ICC will decide on the fate of the T20 World Cup in a meeting on June 6 with the postponement of the tournament being the likely outcome. However, India’s tour of Australia in December is scheduled to go ahead after Cricket Australia released the schedule of the two-month tour.
Watch the full show of Cricket Connected here