Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday endorsed Virat Kohli's complaint about cramped scheduling ahead of the important South Africa tour, saying the team needed time to prepare before heading off to such tough assignments.
"He was talking about scheduling of cricket which is so correct. You got to give teams time to prepare when they go to South Africa," Ganguly said while speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2017.
On Thursday, Kohli had said ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka that the scheduling needed to be assessed in future as cricketers are judged easily but things such as practice time ahead of important tours are not looked into. "As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when we go abroad but we don't look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play," Kohli had said.
"And everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. But it should be a fair game, where we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised. So we thought this (getting seam-friendly wickets at the ongoing series) is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a situation (which they expect to encounter in South Africa)," the India captain added.
India will finish their limited overs matches against Sri Lanka on December 24 (final T20I) before they fly off to South Africa on December 28, with the first Test starting on January 5. They play a two-day warm-up tie, starting on December 30 at Boland Park, Paarl.
In South Africa, the Kohli-led side will play three Tests, five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). Meanwhile, Ganguly predicted that Kohli will surpass batting great Sachin Tendulkar's One-Day Internationals (ODIs) record of 49 tons but the challenge would be to match the Little Master in his Test records. Sachin has 49 ODI hundreds and 51 Test centuries to make it 100 international tons. Kohli, since making his ODI debut in 2008, has amassed 32 hundreds. The 29-year-old recently became the fastest to 50 international centuries by racking up his 18th Test ton at the Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka in the first Test.
"Virat will get very close to Sachin's one day international hundreds which is 49. He is already 32. He will get close to that. He has got to stay fit. When I was playing, from 1996-2003, I had 22 ODI hundreds in 7 years," Ganguly said. "I see that with Virat Kohli as well. He has got 30 odd in about nine years. It gets tougher with age. It got tougher for Sachin, it got tougher for me, it will get tougher for Virat Kohli," said Ganguly, who has 22 centuries in 311 ODIs and 16 Test tons in 113 games.
"He plays a lot of cricket. I personally feel he will get there. To 50 international hundreds with the amount of ODIs that are played, the challenge will be in Test matches to get that far. It's a terrific feeling to have seen Sachin and now you are seeing this boy," Ganguly added.
Asked to compare Tendulkar and Kohli, Ganguly said they are from different generations, adding that Kohli is more expressive and proactive as captain than Tendulkar. "It's not right to compare because these are two cricketers who are from two different generations. I have seen Tendulkar very very closely. An unbelievable cricketer. Some of the runs he has got, match-winning innings he has played is fantastic.
"Virat Kohli, a hundred a couple of days ago at Eden Gardens on that pitch, and you could see his expression when he finished. He is a lot more expressive than Tendulkar. "He is a lot more proactive than Tendulkar as captain. Tendulkar was different, maybe the generation was different," the batting legend added.