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Sourav Ganguly's Response to Shoaib Akhtar's 'Kohli should retire from ODIs, T20s post World Cup' Theory

Find out Sourav Ganguly's response to Shoaib Akhtar's controversial statement about Virat Kohli retiring from ODIs. Get the latest insights and updates on the matter.

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By Crickified
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Sourav Ganguly, Virat Kohli and Shoaib Akhtar (right) (Image Credits: Hindustan Times)

Indian cricket has witnessed the rise of two iconic captains, Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli, who have both strived to elevate Indian cricket to unprecedented heights. Ganguly led the team from 2000 to 2005, while Kohli took over the reins in 2015. Although their relationship may not be the strongest due to their history, Ganguly recently came to Kohli's defense after former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar suggested that Kohli should retire from ODIs and T20s to focus on prolonging his Test career and breaking Sachin Tendulkar's record of 100 centuries. In this article, we will delve into Ganguly's response and explore Kohli's impressive Test and ODI performances.

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Shoaib Akhtar's Comment and Ganguly's Response
Shoaib Akhtar, in an interview with RevSportz, suggested that Kohli should retire from both ODIs and T20s after the upcoming World Cup to focus solely on Test cricket. Akhtar believed that by doing so, Kohli could prolong his Test career and potentially surpass Sachin Tendulkar's record of 100 international centuries. However, Ganguly quickly came to Kohli's defense and dismissed Akhtar's theory.

"Why? Virat Kohli should play whatever cricket he wants to play. Because he performs," Ganguly confidently stated during an event where he was announced as the 'Brand Face.' Ganguly rejected the notion that Kohli should limit his cricketing ventures, emphasizing that Kohli's performances speak for themselves.

Ganguly's response highlights the importance of allowing Kohli the freedom to make decisions about his own career, rather than imposing restrictions based on external opinions. It is evident that Ganguly values Kohli's contributions and believes in his ability to excel in all formats of the game.

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Kohli's Test Career
When examining Kohli's Test career, it is undeniable that he has achieved greatness and established himself as one of the modern-day greats. Although his Test performances may not match the ferocity of his ODI accomplishments, Kohli has still managed to make a significant impact.

As of now, Kohli has accumulated 8676 runs from 11 Tests, placing him as the fifth-highest run-scorer in Indian cricket history, behind the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, and VVS Laxman. His record includes an impressive 29 centuries and a notable average of 49.29. In recognition of his exceptional performances, Kohli was honored with the ICC Test Player of the Year award in 2018.

Kohli's contributions to the Test format have been crucial to the success of the Indian team. His ability to consistently score runs and lead by example has earned him respect and admiration from fans and experts alike. While Test cricket remains a priority for Kohli, he has also made a significant impact in the limited-overs formats.

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Kohli's ODI Achievements
In the realm of One Day Internationals (ODIs), Kohli has left an indelible mark and established himself as one of the finest batsmen in the world. Despite facing stiff competition from cricketing legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting, and Sanath Jayasuriya, Kohli has firmly cemented his place as the fifth-highest run-scorer in the history of ODIs.

While surpassing Tendulkar's record of 18,426 runs may seem like a tall order, Kohli's exceptional batting prowess makes it entirely plausible. Currently, he trails Jayasuriya and Ponting by 532 and 806 runs, respectively. Given Kohli's consistency and hunger for success, it is only a matter of time before he surpasses these milestones and solidifies his position as one of the greatest ODI batsmen.

As the World Cup 2023 approaches, all eyes will be on Kohli as he aims to lead India to glory in the tournament. With his remarkable track record, it is no surprise that there are high expectations for his performance. If he maintains his current form, Kohli has the potential to guide India to success and make significant strides towards surpassing Tendulkar's record.

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Ganguly's Message to Team India Critics
Recently, the Indian cricket team faced criticism after their T20I series loss against West Indies, marking their first bilateral series defeat against the Caribbean team in 17 years. Hardik Pandya, who led the T20I side, bore the brunt of the criticism for some questionable decisions made during the series. Despite the disappointment, Ganguly urged the team management to give more opportunities to young players like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, and Ishan Kishan, who showed promise during the series.

Ganguly emphasized the importance of supporting the team and its players, particularly in the face of defeat. He acknowledged that India is a country where evaluations are made after every game, with the team's image fluctuating between good and bad based on the outcome. Ganguly encouraged fans to rally behind the players and maintain faith in their abilities, recognizing that both victories and losses are part of the sport.

Conclusion
Sourav Ganguly's response to Shoaib Akhtar's suggestion that Virat Kohli should retire from ODIs and T20s showcased his unwavering support for the Indian captain. Ganguly firmly believed that Kohli should have the freedom to decide his cricketing future and dismissed Akhtar's theory. Kohli's remarkable performances in Test cricket, coupled with his impressive ODI achievements, exemplify his stature as one of the finest cricketers of his generation. As the World Cup 2023 approaches, all eyes will be on Kohli as he aims to lead India to success and make strides towards surpassing Sachin Tendulkar's record. Despite recent criticism, Ganguly urged fans to support the team and its players, recognizing that both victories and defeats are part of the game.

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