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Ponting: India’s Test feats under Kohli more staggering than Australia’s under my captaincy

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has lavished heavy praise on Virat Kohli for his “staggering” returns as Test skipper.

Kohli recently stepped down as the Test captain of India after seven years, ending with 40 wins from 68 matches as captain. Only three players, Steve Waugh, Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting have won more matches as captain.

Taking over the reins in 2014, Kohli led India to the top of the Test rankings, oversaw the side’s first ever Test series win in Australia in 2018/19 and also guided his side to a series lead in England last year. He won every Test series he contested at home.


Ponting, speaking to the ICC website, believes that India’s transformation under Kohli deserves praise and that his feats are more “staggering” than his own as Australia’s Test captain.

“It was more of a staggering achievement for India than it was for us,” said Ponting. “When I took over, I took over a side that had dominated world cricket for a long time.

“If you think about India before Virat, it was about winning a lot of games at home and not winning quite as many overseas. The thing that improved the most was India winning a few more games overseas, and that’s something that he and all of the Indian cricket have to be really proud of.

“The other thing is there was really was a real focus placed on Test cricket by the BCCI when Virat took over, and I think a lot of it has come from him as well – to focus more on Test cricket and winning more games home and away. Given his Test record as captain, he can walk away from the role very, very proud of what he has achieved.”

Ponting also revealed that Kohli’s sudden decision to step down as the skipper of the red-ball team following India’s 2-1 defeat to South Africa “really, really surprised” him. “I had a chat and good catch-up with Virat during the first part of the IPL [2021] before it got postponed,” said Ponting.

“He was talking then about stepping away [from captaincy] from white-ball cricket and how passionate he was to continue on to be Test match captain. He just loved and cherished that job and that post so much. Obviously, the Indian Test team had achieved a lot under his leadership. When I heard it, I was really, really surprised.”

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