Bengaluru, August 9: Virat Kohli recently climbed to the top of ICC Rankings for Test batsmen surpassing former Australia skipper Steve Smith. And a legend from Down Under cited Kohli's immaculate work ethics and dedication to the sport as reasons for the India captain's rise.
Glenn McGrath, who is the Director of coaching at the MRF Pace Foundation, placed Kohli as a model for young cricketers who want to scale heights in cricket.
"We talk to the young guys that when you play IPL you get a lot of money and people know who you are. It can be tough for some young guys to handle. It takes hard work to get to that level, play Ranji Trophy or IPL. But once you get there it takes twice as much work to stay there and move on.
"Here, I tell these boys about Virat Kohli. He works harder than anyone else. He didn't get there (top of batting table) by mistake. I was commentating in the Adelaide Test when India played Australia the last time there. I used to head to the gym in the morning as I stayed in the same hotel as the Indian team.
"Every morning, I would see Virat Kohli down in the gym getting a bit of work as preparation for the day. I didn't see any other players. That's why he is number one in the world. If it's good enough for him, then it's good enough for everyone. That's what I am trying to instill in the boys," said McGrath, who is attending a camp in Bengaluru under the aegis of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
But it has not lost on McGrath that the teams, even a squad like India with the best batsman Kohli in it, have not done well in overseas conditions. McGrath, who has taken 563 wickets from 124 Tests and was a part of an Australian side that conquered the world, did not hide his concern.
Today's session included a lot of band work for lower body strengthening; including lateral band walk, monster walk and then striding a distance of 80 meters x 12 repetitions at speed of 16km/hr on treadmill. 15 second break between each stride and completing 2 sets of 12. pic.twitter.com/Mc5L8Lhk10— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) June 19, 2018
"My biggest issue is with the touring teams. When Australia go to England or India, they don't do well. When England went to Australia, they lost 5-0. Touring teams is the biggest issue because you'd like a more competitive game. It could be a scheduling issue because there is not much time anymore. We used to play 2-3 practice matches to get used to the conditions. Now, teams don't get time for that. They need to find ways to perform better and quicker when on tour. India went close in the first Test (against England at Birmingham)," said McGrath.
Using the Edgbaston Test as a case in study, McGrath said: "To win Test matches you have to take 20 wickets. India have shown recently that they are capable of taking 20 wickets. The pitch (at Edgbaston) itself probably did a little bit, there was probably a bit of seam movement and it was tough for the batsmen. But it kept the game moving forward.
"Kohli had couple of lives, then he went on to get a hundred in the first innings and scored 200 runs in total. He showed that if you apply yourself you can score runs in those type of wickets. India will be disappointed that they didn't bat better and dropped catches. England on the reverse, also dropped catches, but they did well to hold on to the game."