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EXCLUSIVE | Battle between Virat Kohli and James Anderson will be interesting in Test series: Sourav Ganguly

As India gear up to take on England in the high-octane five-match Test series, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said the main attraction of the rubber will be the duel between Virat Kohli and James Anderson.

Reported by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: July 24, 2018 21:38 IST ]
Image Source : GETTY IMAGE

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

As India gear up to take on England in the high-octane five-match Test series, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said the main attraction of the rubber will be the duel between Virat Kohli and James Anderson.

The 35-year-old England pacer has an outstanding record against the Indian captain, having dismissed him four times in six innings during the 2014 tour. Overall, in Tests, Anderson has dismissed Kohli five times going back to 2012.

During IndiaTV's 'Cricket Ki Baat' show, Ganguly said the duel between the two arch-rivals will be interesting to watch.

"Duel between Virat Kohli and James Anderson will be interesting to watch," Ganguly told IndiaTV from Kolkata.

In 2014, Kohli had struggled to get going and managed only 134 runs in five Tests here, one of his worst Test performances. It is a blot on his stellar career to this day, even though he scored 655 runs in five Tests against England in the home series (2016-17) to lead his side to a 4-0 win.

However, Ganguly issued a word of caution for England bowlers, saying that Kohli has improved by leaps and bounds as a batsman in the last four years.

"There's a lot of difference between the James Anderson of 2014 and the Virat Kohli of 2014. Anderson has grown older and his pace has decreased. On the other hand, Kohli is going to England as a much-improved batsman. So, it will be a great contest between the two as I feel that Anderson won't be able to dominate in the same manner as he did in 2014."

Ganguly said there is a heat wave in England at present and the conditions could suit India more in the upcoming series. 

"Kohli is a class batsman now and plus the conditions in England will favour him. We saw in the limited-overs series that it was pretty sunny in England. So, there will be less swing on offer and the pitches will be more batting friendly. England bowlers will have to be cautious against Kohli because if he gets set, he will make a big score," Ganguly said.

The 46-year-old Ganguly, known as the 'Prince of Kolkata' by his fans, also felt that Ajinkya Rahane will have to stamp his authority in the Test series against England.

"Ajinkya Rahane has scored runs in England. He scored a century at Lord's during India's last tour. It was a green top and he hammered a fantastic hundred. However, this time Rahane will be under some pressure because he hasn't been able to score big in Test cricket for some time, has been in and out of the ODI team. So, it will be very important for him to stamp his authority in this series.

"I feel England's attack is not as lethal as it used to be in 2014. Anderson and Stuart Broad are not the same bowlers. So, I feel Indian batsmen will have a good opportunity to score against this England attack," he said.

Speaking on the opening combination, Ganguly said he would prefer to go with Murali Vijay and KL Rahul.

"I would go with Murali Vijay and KL Rahul as openers in the Test series. Shikhar Dhawan is a good ODI player and he was in decent touch during the ODI series as well. However, when he opens in Test cricket in overseas conditions, he doesn't have a good record, be it South Africa, England or Australia. In India, he scores hundred in Test cricket. Even in the last match against Afghanistan, he scored a hundred before Lunch and became the first Indian player to do so. So, it will be interesting to see the team management's decision on this," Ganguly concluded.

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