Mumbai: Former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes feels that India`s middle-order batsman Virat Kohli has the ability to match the extraordinary feats of iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar to some extent.
"Kohli is only 22 but he has already shown his potential with the bat. He has shown that he can be a superstar," Rhodes told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of his new range of nutritional supplements under ESN (Evolution Sports Nutrition).
"His conversion rate from fifties to hundreds in ODIs is amazing. Once he gets a fifty, he is a difficult batsman to dismiss. With regards to the stats and the number of runs scored, he has shown that he can compete with the records of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar in the long run.”
"Kohli is expected to play a big role in India`s success in the future. He is a fine cricketer and a fine athlete. He is a complete all-rounder," he added.
Kohli has scored 2,496 runs in 66 ODIs at an average of 45.38 with the help of seven centuries and 16 fifties. The 42-year-old Rhodes also believed that Kohli although does not have an impressive record in Tests, having scored only 76 runs in five innings, had it in him to become a successful player in the longer version of the game too.
"The right-handed batsman has been consistent in IPL, T20s and ODIs because he plays good cricketing shots," said Rhodes.
"He plays shots all-round the park. From the team point of view, he has shown maturity. He finishes games for India and does not throw his wicket away. That`s what Test cricket is all about," he added.
Rhodes, who scored 2,532 and 5,935 runs in 50 Tests and 245 ODIs respectively, felt it would be an uphill task for England, who have lost the first two one-dayers against India in the ongoing five-match series, to bounce back.
"England are a team that have come off a convincing win (over India) in their home. But being 0-2 down is always a dangerous position to be in, especially when you are playing against a quality side. England have shown that they are very good but beating India in India is a tough ask," Rhodes said.
"We all know it’s pretty tough to play in India. England had played pretty well recently but India have bounced back. They are the world champions. No team would like to go to England and fail to win even a game there, especially if they are the world champions. India have given England a lesson in cricket in the last two games," he added.
The South African came out in support of veteran off- spinner Harbhajan Singh, who has been dropped from the national team, saying that he has a lot to offer to the Indian team.
"Bhajji has always been a fighter and he has been known for it throughout his career. I have been dropped in my career. There are two things you can do in that situation -- either sulk and say that`s it I`m not going to participate or you can get back to the field. That`s what he did for Mumbai Indians in the Champions League," said Rhodes, who is the fielding coach of IPL franchisee Mumbai Indians, the team in which Harbhajan plays.
"He could have said Sachin is not here, I`ve been dropped from the Indian team so what`s the point, but he led (Mumbai Indians) from the front. That`s shows the kind of guy he is. He is a real team man. He has got a lot to contribute to the India team."