Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has stated that having two superstar players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the same playing eleven can work to India’s advantage, if the two players engage in healthy competition.
Over the years, cricket teams with two or more star players have witnessed ego clashes. Reports of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli not getting along with each other having also been doing the rounds on and off.
In an interview with India TV, Raja opined that great players can get the best out of each other. Giving the example of the Pakistan team that was led by Imran Khan, the former cricketer elaborated:
“Performance jealousy has always been there. Don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but during my playing days, the team environment meant of great importance to me. The team environment was brilliant under Imran Khan. Best players always look to outdo each other and healthy competition always benefits the team. Virat and Rohit can also thrive together. Players often help each other when they are together in the middle.”
Serious question marks were raised over Virat Kohli and Rohit’s relationship after the Indian captain claimed, in a press conference during the tour of Australia, that he had no idea regarding the injured Rohit’s availability for the series. Both Virat Kohli and Rohit were in the UAE for IPL 2020 before India headed to Australia.
Following the conclusion of India’s home series against England, media reports claimed that Virat Kohli and Rohit had sorted out their differences in the bio-bubble. A source was quoted as telling TOI about the two stars of Indian cricket:
“Great deal of personal bonding has happened in recent weeks and they’re more in sync now than ever with regards to their cricket, the team, their responsibilities and the upcoming challenges. They understand now, more than ever, that the team will only benefit if they find themselves on the same page.”
Unlike Virat Kohli, Babar Azam still needs to prove himself in Test cricket: Ramiz Raja
Apart from the Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma comparison, Raja was also asked how he would rate current Pakistan skipper Babar Azam. According to the former Pakistan captain, while Virat Kohli is a proven performer, the same cannot be said about Azam in Tests as yet. Raja explained:
“Babar Azam needs to improve his Test record. He’s a stylish batsman but he’s to achieve a lot in Test cricket. He will be considered among greats if he slams big innings in Test cricket. If the Pakistan skipper succeeds in doing that, the sky is the limit.”
While Virat Kohli averages 52.37 after 91 Tests, Azam has an average of 42.52 after 33 Test matches.