Bangladesh: Legendary Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas is the new entrant in the list of illustrious former cricketers, who feel that India’s premier batsman Virat Kohli is destined for greatness.
“Virat Kohli is one batsman who will break all the records in international cricket. The transition phase in Indian batting has already happened as they now have a set line-up.
“Pakistan also have talented bunch of batsmen. But we are in the process of rebuilding,” Abbas, who is a batting consultant of the Pakistan team, told a gathering of Indian journalists after team’s training session on Sunday.
The former Pakistan captain praised young opener Ahmed Shehzad.
“Ahmed Shehzad is a talented batsman and will mature into a good player in the coming days,” Abbas said.
Asked about the India versus Pakistan clash on March 21, Abbas agreed that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s comeback from injury certainly will make the ‘Men in Blue’ a stronger unit.
“During Asia Cup, Dhoni was not there and now he is back. So that will definitely make India stronger but we did beat a good Indian side. A lot of people thought that the Pakistan are not good chasers but during the Asia Cup, the boys showed what they are capable of. We have had two good run chases (India and Bangladesh),” the 67-year-old veteran of 78 Test matches said.
For Abbas, the best part about this current Pakistan team is its self-belief, which he finds very reassuring.
“What I love about these young boys in the Pakistan team is their confidence. Even in tense situations they would tell me, “Zaheer bhai, hum jeetenge”. I love this attitude,” the touch artist of 70s and 80s said.
Abbas said cricket has changed a lot and one needs to embrace the changes in technique and approach of the players.
“I remember some years back during a match where I was watching it sitting beside Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar). A batsman edged one and it flew past the slips for a boundary. Sunny laughed and said that during our days, the coaches would have told us to run five rounds of the ground as a punishment for not playing a proper cricketing shot. But now a boundary is a boundary and people love it. The bottom line is this is what the people wants and they love this format (T20),” Abbas explained.
Abbas recalled how it all started in the late 70s with the ‘Packer revolution’.
“It was during our generation that coloured clothing and white balls were introduced along with black sightscreens. Kerry Packer got it. I played in England where we had John Player League which had 40-over per side games.
So now we have T20 but during those days only, we had played limited games with reduced overs. The batting techniques have changed a lot. But with time everything changes. I have accepted that reality. Our time is long gone and it is time for the younger generation,” he concluded.