“What Virat (Kohli) has done for that Test team is very much in terms of the competitive nature in which he has led. I don’t think you get a man who wants to win more than him and pushes other individuals. What comes to my mind is Michael Jordan’s Netflix programme ‘The Last Dance’. Jordan for some teammates wasn’t always the best friend they were looking for, however, when it comes to performance he pushed them, he drove & he demanded high standards. Virat Kohli is a similar type of character in that sense,” Compton said on Friday during a conversation with sports presenter Dr Yash Kashikar on his Instagram Live show ‘Say Yash To Sports.’
However, Compton, who played 16 Tests for England, and was a part of the English team which last won a Test series in India, in 2012, advised Kohli to be more consistent with selection of the final XI in Tests. “The only thing he can probably get better at is trying to bring more stability to that team. I think the team changes too much for my liking. It seems that players who might have a more introvert personality might find it more difficult & intimidating. And perhaps question their place in the team and thus play with a bit more fear. So there has to be more consistency in selection,” said Compton.
Compton, who averaged 28.70 and scored two hundreds and fifties in his short Test career, believes that India haver a “very good top order,” but “they are still lacking one or two solid players.” “There top order is very good in the right conditions but I still think it looks like if I was a fast bowler from South Africa or Australia, I have an opportunity to take wickets. So, (Cheteshwar) Pujara for me is an absolute key, Kohli of course speaks for himself. But they are still lacking one or two very solid players. They need that resolve & strength to win overseas. All credentials are there but India needs to be the team that are very hard to beat. They are not quite there yet but no so far,” observed the 36-year-old.
Compton felt that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should award more points for overseas wins recorded by teams in the ICC World Test Championship. “I think there should be more points given to teams that win abroad. To be able to go to another country, master their conditions, and turn the home team down is something that comes through a lot of planning and preparation. Also, I think that’s the one area that Test cricket has probably lost out recently. There are so many franchise tournaments that I don’t think players are spending enough preparing for the big overseas tournaments particularly referring to Test cricket. It’s difficult to get the time to really do your homework & build up for a Test tour abroad,” he says.
He also recommended more warm-up games for international teams during tours. “Of course, T20 cricket is dominating the world. That’s where the money and the revenue is. So, it’s a very congested cricket itinerary. But for me, Test cricket is always the pinnacle. Nothing really compares to it. It would be nice to see more warm-up games played when teams go overseas, so that there is a proper vision to beat the overseas team. So, absolutely, overseas wins counting for more points is a good idea,” he said.
Compton felt that his fellow teammate and star batsman Kevin Pietersen was made a scapegoat by people after England’s horrible 5-0 drubbing in the 2013 Ashes Down Under. “I think he was made a scapegoat. At that stage, relationships were broken down and they were just waiting for an opportunity to move forward. Rightly or wrongly, Kevin Pietersen was ostracized by the higher management. However, looking back he did a lot of good things. He was an outstanding player who helped me a lot when I was on tours. And of course, his batting did the talking. He is obviously a straight up individual who said things as they are and at times that’s what may sometimes rub people off the wrong way. In sports, I think you need to black & white. There is no time to mess around. And that’s something that he definitely was,” he recalled.