For long India skipper Virat Kohli has been compared with the legends of the game for his great scoring prowess. The world number one batsman recently brought up his 24th Test ton in the first match against West Indies at Rajkot, where he became the second fastest after Don Bradman to reach the milestone. CNN News18's Vimal Kumar caught up with former Windies skipper Carl Hooper and asked the latter if Kohli's dominance is like that of Viv Richards. For Hooper, Kohli's stats are great and he is among the world's best, but still not as great as Richards. Hooper then goes on talk about new batting sensation Prithvi Shaw and the absence of senior players from the Windies side. Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Everyone talks about Virat Kohli and his intensity, does he remind you of Vivian Richards in any way?
A: No, a totally different player. We'll probably never see another Viv Richards. Kohli is a very good player but not in that intimidating way that Viv was. Kohli will probably go down as one of the greats when he finishes but I don't think I've seen another player that demands respect like Viv Richards.
Q: What about Tendulkar since you've played with him and he's one of Virat's idols? Are there any similarities, is he better than Tendulkar or in the same class as him?
A: He's scored 24 Test hundreds, Sachin had 51. So, he's half way there. By the end of it this is how (statistically) we judge players. Virat is a very good player. Is he a great player? I don’t know. But by the time he's finished, he's going to be there.
Q: At this time, will you put him in the same bracket as Tendulkar?
A: It's difficult to say, it's a different era. When you look at Sri Lanka or Pakistan, the standard has dipped. Sachin scored his runs against great bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, Ambrose and Walsh. But when you look at the current West Indies team, it's like taking a candy from a child. It's hard to make a comparison between eras but from a stats point of view.
Q: Who'd be that one player that you'd pay to watch?
A: Kohli for sure. I like Prithvi Shaw, he very entertaining and bold. He looks composed and he's only 18, so he'll get better. We saw in the last Test match how he set the tone, putting the West Indies under pressure from the beginning. It's only early days for him but I'm sure he's going to go on and serve India well.
Q: All the big names are missing, even Chris Gayle says he wants to play in the Afghan Premier League. How do you look at this approach? What can the BCCI and the WICB do?
A: BCCI can't do anything about it, it's not the BCCI's fault that we can't send a full-strength West Indian squad. Gayle is not young but his experience could've done wonders on this tour for the youngsters. Indian tours are especially tough and this is where you need your experienced players. Gayle is 38-39, he may be past Test cricket but certainly he'll be here for the 50-over competition.