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Kohli reminds me of Richards and Imran Khan: Shastri

WELLINGTON: An unabashed fan of skipper Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri when compared him to cult cricketing figures like Sir Vivian Richards and the iconic former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.

"The closest I have noticed to the good guy. Virat is in your face, he wants to dominate and has a piece ethic like nobody else. Whether it comes to discipline, training, sacrifice or self-denial, it is incredible.

"I feel India is fortunate to have a pacesetter of that sort. He rings a bell in my memory of Imran Khan in some ways - in the best way he units the instance and units the standards, and is going about defining it in his own method and leading from the entrance," Shastri mentioned.

However, Shastri is confident that Kohli will evolve additional as a captain.

"As some distance as I am involved, tactically, there's still room for quite a lot of improvement as captain. He has gotten higher and higher, and higher, and I believed in the Australian Test sequence, tactically he outsmarted Australia.

"I still see more room across formats for him to evolve. As a captain, Virat will evolve further," mentioned Shastri.

Kuldeep Yadav is firmly ahead of veteran Ravichandran Ashwin in the pecking order as India's frontline spinner on international soil, Shastri asserted, citing his five-wicket haul towards Australia in the Sydney Test this 12 months.

Shastri made it clear that going forward, wrist spinners will likely be in fashion in Test cricket and Kuldeep is "already" ahead of Ashwin and Jadeja as country's No.1 spinner.

"Already! He plays overseas Test cricket and he gets five wickets, so he becomes our primary overseas spinner. Going ahead, if we have to play one spinner, he is the one we will pick," Shastri mentioned.

"There is a time for everyone (referring to Ashwin's poor fitness record in 2018). But now Kuldeep is our frontline number one overseas spinner," he added.

Kuldeep bagged a five-for in the rain-affected Sydney Test and most of the Australian batsmen failed to read him.

"I was very impressed with the way Kuldeep bowled in Sydney. Even in Test cricket, it is going to be the age of wrist spin, especially in overseas Test cricket. The way he bowled in Sydney, he becomes our number one spinner in overseas Test cricket," Shastri mentioned.

Cheteshwar Pujara was a revelation all over the excursion of Australia where he played a massive function in the country's first ever 2-1 sequence win, fetching the player of the sequence award for it.

However, the same Pujara was dropped for the primary Test towards England in Birmingham and Shastri revealed how a minor glitch in his stance was corrected, which wasn't totally technical.

"It wasn't a technical issue. It was in his posture and the way he stood at the crease. It was a small thing, which can happen when you have played day in, and day out. I felt it was an issue," Shastri mentioned.

"We had to factor in if we wanted to take the risk of that first Test or get him right for the next 7-8 Tests. Or, take that chance of playing in all 8 Tests and he doesn't have enough time to sort that," the coach, recognized for his cricketing acumen, mentioned.

According to Shastri, the issue crept in when Pujara was taking part in county cricket in 2018 and it was a "conscious decision" to drop Pujara in England.

"And I will do that again if I get the results like the way I have," mentioned the straight-talking coach.

Since coming back from Australia, Pujara has played three back to back first class games for Saurashtra, together with the ongoing Ranji final in Nagpur and the coach feels it's time he is taking some rest.

"...I feel like calling him from New Zealand and saying, enough Puji, take off your pads now and sit down!"

"And like I said earlier, he is the quintessential professional. That guy, when he gets in, he smells the leather. He doesn't let the bowler make him smell the leather. Chin music is different, when the bowler makes the ball go past you," he mentioned.

And then there was an inimitable Shastri remark about how Pujara is going about his job.

"Pujara smells the leather, whether he is playing forward or backward defensive. No one smells the leather in defence better than Pujara. You can ask him if it is Christian Dior or Armani."

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