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February 12, 2019

Virat Kohli above peers, destined for greatness: Kumar Sangakkara

Agencies

New Delhi, Feb 12: India captain Virat Kohli is well ahead of his contemporaries and destined for greatness, former Sri Lankan batting stalwart Kumar Sangakkara has said.

Run-machine Kohli capped a memorable 2018 by becoming the first to win the International Cricket Council's (ICC) cricketer, Test and one-day international (ODI) player of the year awards last month.

Considered part of the elite group also featuring Kiwi Kane Williamson, Australian Steve Smith and England's Joe Root, Kohli has surged ahead after a stupendous 2018 and is currently the top-ranked Test as well as one-day batsman.

"Everything about Virat's game stands out. I think he is head and shoulders above anyone else in world cricket today," Sangakkara told a news channel.

"And I think going forward, he will be one of the greatest ever cricketers, if not the greatest ever," said the Sri Lankan batting great.

With 39 centuries from 222 ODIs, Kohli is second only to compatriot Sachin Tendulkar -- who scored 49 from 463 -- in the century-makers' list of 50-over internationals.

He has also scored 25 hundreds in 77 Tests.

Sangakkara is amazed by Kohli's ability to succeed across formats.

"He has this incredible knack of scoring runs and has a very, very solid method that he believes in..." said the former Sri Lanka captain.

"... if you see the tempo he bats with, it hardly changes. He does read the situation very well. He is a very passionate guy, you see that in his expressions on the field... it's the overall aspect of both the person and how he has sorted his batting and his attitude," he added.

Sangakkara's former team-mate Mahela Jayawardene lauded how Kohli handled the pressure of leading the team of a cricket-mad nation of 1.3 billion.

"It's not just about the ability Virat has but to understand the way to handle pressure not just on the field but also off the field, and the expectations," said Jayawardene.

"We grew up with Sachin who had to perhaps experience the same thing. And for the next generation, it's probably on Virat's shoulders..." he added.

Virat Kohli above peers, destined for greatness: Kumar Sangakkara

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