Kolkata: Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly heaped praise on current Test skipper Virat Kohli, saying the dashing right-hander is one of his favourite leaders in the game.
"Virat is one of my favourite captains at the present moment," Ganguly told reporters on Thursday. "He is a terrific player. In his short career so far he has done wonders for the country. Someone who, when I look at him on the field, is going to raise the value of the Indian cricket with his intensity, fighting spirit and hunger to win."
"You could see it on his face when he walks out to bat, or to captain India, he wants to be the best. The country needs him at the moment and I think he is a great addition to Indian cricket," Ganguly added.
Kohli has won seven Tests as captain, the latest being India's 2-0 series win in the West Indies. The Delhi cricketer also became the first Indian captain to score a double century in an overseas Test.
India now take on New Zealand in three Tests and five One Day Internationals at home. The first Test is in Kanpur starting next Thursday. "New Zealand are probably the second best team after England at the moment. India are almost unbeatable at home. Everyone knows that, even New Zealand," Ganguly said.
"The first Test is in Kanpur and then here at the Eden Gardens followed by Indore. The conditions will be good to play," he said.
Ganguly said the Eden Gardens pitch is still being prepared for the second Test starting 30 September. "The Eden pitch will be ready. There has been a lot of sunshine in the last two days. There is still enough time to get it ready," he said.
The 44-year-old added that the wicket will be prepared according to the wish of the Indian team management. "Whatever they want will be provided. Last year during the World Cup, we had to use Bermuda grass, as it grows quickly," Ganguly said.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha is set to be the first Bengal cricketer to play a Test at the Eden Gardens after Ganguly in 2007. The former skipper felt both Saha and fellow Bengal player Mohammed Shami should play 100 Tests for India. "Wriddhi has a great opportunity to play 100 Tests for India. So has Shami. I wish them both all the very best."