‘Strong Leader’ Virat Kohli Propelled His Bowlers to Get Better: Vernon Philander Credits Former Skipper For Rise of Indian Pacers


Former India captain Virat Kohli (AFP Image)

Former India captain Virat Kohli (AFP Image)

Philander said India seem to have cracked the code as far as producing good fast-bowling talent is concerned and a share of the credit goes to former captain Virat Kohli’s vision.

Veteran South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has credited Virat Kohli’s leadership for the rise of Indian bowlers in the past few years. Team India turned into a fierce fast bowling unit under Kohli’s captaincy in red-ball cricket as they produced some memorable performances in overseas conditions including Australia and England.

Kohli took over the captaincy charge on India’s tour of Australia in 2013-14 and led them to great heights before relinquishing the post in early 2022.

Philander said India seem to have cracked the code as far as producing good fast-bowling talent is concerned and a share of the credit goes to former captain Virat Kohli’s vision.

“Every time India comes here, they seem to be performing better than the previous tour. In the subcontinent, Indian spinners have been winning the games but It’s just good to see the Indian team winning in Australia,” Philander told PTI.

“That’s a very positive sign for India to produce those sort of bowlers… It is also on the back of great leadership.

“Virat Kohli had been a strong leader who was propelling his bowlers to go and learn and get better,” said the pacer, referring to India’s historic Test series triumph against Australia in 2018-19 under Kohli.

Philander enjoyed an excellent record against India at home and took 25 wickets in five Tests (2013 and 2018) at an average of 18.

Philander also opened up on his battles with Kohli and called him the toughest opponent he has ever faced in his career.

“For me Virat has been the toughest batsman because of the way he conducts himself. As a bowler, he never gives you an opportunity to settle. From the pure mindset point of view, Virat is a very strong character and as a batsman, he makes life really difficult for the bowlers,” said the 38-year-old.

Asked if players, especially bowlers, will be turn up exhausted during the T20 World Cup as it would be happening just after the IPL, Philander said workload management would be the key.

“…I feel that you have to manage players as it is a big tournament…You want to make sure that those players get game time but the management of pacers will be the key,” he said.

He could not be a part of the IPL in his playing career but wants to join the extravaganza as a coach or consultant.

“IPL is the one tournament you want to be a part of at one stage. Maybe now as coach or consultant. Hopefully a window will open soon where I can take part and share my knowledge with the young players,” he said.



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