Virat Kohli's current purple patch has left a great many former players bedazzled and Sourav Ganguly, a great captain himself in his playing days, believes the 29-year-old's run with the bat is unprecedented as far as Indian batsmen are concerned.
On the ongoing tour of South Africa, Kohli first scored 286 runs in three Tests and then followed it up with 558 in six ODIs, including three tons. And then in the first T20 of a three-game rubber on Sunday, he scored 26, leaving him 130 runs short of becoming the second player after Viv Richards to score 1,000 international runs on a single tour.
And only on Tuesday, Kohli became the second batsman in the history of ICC rankings to cross the 900-point mark concurrently for both Tests and ODIs.
It's not hard to fathom why Ganguly speaks of Kohli's batting in glowing terms. "Kohli is the flag bearer of Indian cricket. I have seen a lot of purple patches including mine, Dravid's and Sachin Tendulkar's. I genuinely believe that this is not just a purple patch for Kohli, this is genuine greatness," Ganguly told India Today.
He continued: "I have seen MS Dhoni captain, I have seen Rahul Dravid captain but I have never seen anyone perform this consistently with the bat as captain as Kohli has."
While India lost the Test series against Proteas 2-1, Ganguly is hopeful things will change as Kohli gets more and more experience as India captain in conditions totally different from the ones in the subcontinent.
"Kohli has done brilliantly. Overseas Test series [not including the Indian subcontinent] wins will come - the only places he has captained India in full series are the West Indies and South Africa.
"The next two series in Australia and England will define him as a captain. He has got the ability. The best thing he does as a captain is that he leads by example. Look at the hundreds he got against South Africa. For the two series against England and Australia, Kohli and the team needs to go early. Play a couple of side games before getting into the series," Ganguly said.