Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has given the credit to Virat Kohli for successfully introducing a fitness culture in the Indian cricket team. Ponting has also opined that it was Kohli who raised awareness about fitness and set higher fitness standards as well.
Speaking to the International Cricket Council (ICC) during the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022, Ponting said: “A great example of that has been Virat Kohli and what he has been able to do with Indian cricket. Before him, fitness culture probably wasn’t as strong as it is today. I prided myself on being one of the first on the training track and one of the last to leave. When you have one or two of those guys in a team, it becomes quite infectious very quickly. Like me, I was eager to be the best and always trying to catch up with the best players in the side. That was something that I was conscious of because if I could set that example, then other guys coming in would want to do the same thing.”
However, Ricky Ponting is considered one of the most successful captains in the history of the game. Under his leadership, the Australian side won 324 matches with a winning rate of 67.91% as well. Meanwhile, Team India will be seen in action on Sunday (October 23) when they lock horns with Pakistan in their opening match of the T20 World Cup 2022. The highly-anticipated match is set to take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Ponting mentioned how Asian teams have started producing good fast bowlers. The cricketer-turned-commentator shared how both India and Pakistan have successfully created a formidable pace attack.
He explained: “If you think about it now, Pakistan have probably had a fast bowling culture over the last 20–25 years, more so than the spinners. In their last 10 or 15 years in international cricket, India have produced high-quality fast bowling as well.”When you used to go to the subcontinent, whether it was India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, you’d be facing a lot of spin bowling and not a lot of fast bowling. That has changed dramatically over the last 30 or 35 years that I’ve been in and around the game.”
Notably, Team India’s current fast-bowling attack is one of the best in world cricket. Spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best fast bowlers in the world. The new crop of pace bowlers have done a great job across formats as well.
“Competitions like the IPL and the CPL have played a huge part in the crossover of different cultures and the understanding of different cultures in different countries. Also, when you think of players playing in those environments, they have also got coaches from different countries coaching in different tournaments as well,” Ricky Ponting concluded.