Cricket

Virat Kohli 'right guy' to take Indian cricket forward, Ben Stokes best cricketer in the world, opines Ian Botham

  • Press Trust of India
  • May 29th, 2020
  • 9:28:14 IST

Legendary English all-rounder Ian Botham says captain Virat Kohli is the "right guy" to take Indian cricket forward but rates Ben Stokes as the world's best player at the moment.

India's captain Virat Kohli gestures to spectators as he leads his team in a victory lap after winning the second match and test series against Bangladesh in Kolkata, India, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

India's captain Virat Kohli gestures to spectators as he leads his team in a victory lap. AP

"Virat takes the game to the opposition, he takes a stand for his players. I would have loved to play against him. He is the right guy to take Indian cricket forward," Botham said during an online chat session with Playwrite Foundation.

One of the game's finest all-rounders, Botham has represented England with distinction during a stellar career, the highlight of which was heroics in the 1981 Ashes series.

Botham had his take on the debate around the best all-rounder between former player Andrew Flintoff and England's World Cup hero Ben Stokes.

"Ben (Stokes) is better than a mile to Freddy (Andrew Flintoff). Ben Stokes is the closest version of me, he plays like me with his heart on his sleeve. Flintoff was good but Stokes is just exceptional. He is the best cricketer in the world now," he said.

Botham, who was part of the famous all-rounder quartet of the 1980s along with Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan, said that he is privileged to have played in that era.

"It was a privilege to play in that era. We spoilt the fans for around 10-15 years. I don't think world cricket has seen so many all-rounders rubbing shoulders at the same time.

"In every tour I used to see what Richard has done, what Kaps (Kapil) has done, what Immi (Imran) has done. There was a great rivalry," the former England captain said.

He added, "All-rounders can't be manufactured, they don't grow on trees. The workload is double and it obviously takes a toll on your body.

"Just imagine, Kapil? the amount of bowling he did on those Indian pitches, which had very little to offer, that too in the scorching heat of Chennai and Delhi. I can't see anyone in the present generation being able to do that," Botham said.

Updated Date: May 29, 2020 09:28:14 IST

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