Trinidad: India coach Rahul Dravid has used the eve of Virat Kohli’s 500th international appearance to reveal what makes the former skipper so good at his craft and predict what the future holds for the legendary batter.
Kohli will take the field for the 500th time in his distinguished international career when India take on the West Indies in the second and final Test of their ICC World Test Championship series in Trinidad and the 34-year-old still remains one of the most consistent performers in all formats of the game.
While Dravid played alongside Kohli at the backend of his playing career, it is only in recent times that their relationship has really blossomed as they have spent time working with each other with a common goal for Indian cricket.
And while Dravid admitted he was in awe of the achievement by Kohli to reach the 500-game milestone, the India coach does not see the former skipper slowing down any time soon as he continues to maintain that famous work rate the sets him apart from many of his peers.
“I think it is fantastic and he (Kohli) is an inspiration to so many players within this team and to so many boys and girls back home in India,” Dravid said ahead of the second Test against the West Indies.
“His numbers and his stats speak for themselves and his performances are all there in the (record) books.
“For me what has been great to see first-hand is the effort and the willing and the work he puts in behind the scenes when no one is watching and that is reflected in the fact that he has been able to play 500 games.
“He is still going very strong, is very fit and the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the game in spite of playing 500 games and being around here for 12 or 13 years now.”
Dravid – who is one of only three other India players to have made more than 500 international appearances – said Kohli had made many sacrifices throughout his career and that was a major reason why he has been able to stay at the top of his game for so long.
“It is truly fantastic and it has not come easy. It has come because of a lot of hard work behind the scenes and a lot of sacrifices he has made throughout his career and is willing to continue to make,” Dravid noted.
“That is something that is great for a coach as you can see a lot of the young players look at that and be inspired by that and you don’t need to say anything.
“Just by the way you conduct yourself and the way you carry yourself, the way you go about practices, the way you go about your fitness, it becomes an inspiration for a lot of young players that are coming through the system and hopefully they are inspired by Virat.
“Longevity comes with a lot of hard work, discipline and adaptability and he has shown all of that, so long may it continue.”
Kohli managed the 29th half-century of his Test career when compiling a steady knock of 76 during the first Test against the West Indies in Dominica, with the experienced batter overshadowed by debutant Yashavi Jaiswal (171) and skipper Rohit Sharma (103) as India registered a commanding victory.