Virat plays better than Sachin in tight situations, says Imran Khan

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In praise that will be music to Virat Kohli’s ears, Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said the Indian star batsman is better than cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar in critical moments.

“Cricket has had eras. In the eighties, it was Viv Richards, and then you had Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar who stood out. Virat Kohli is one of the most complete players I’ve seen. He’s so versatile; he plays on both feet, and on all sides of the field,’’ Khan told the Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview at his Islamabad, Pakistan  residence.

Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Imran Khan
SUPERSTARS OF CRICKET: Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Imran Khan

“Apart from his talent and technique, he has a very good temperament. His temperament is better than Sachin’s. Kohli performs at the most difficult of opportunities, which Sachin sometimes wasn’t able to,” he said.

Khan, who was in Kolkata, India to watch a World T20 match between India and Pakistan in March, said: “It was very painful watching Pakistan lose, but Kohli played a very good game. I look at batsmen from a bowler’s point of view and I think of how to get them out. Just look at how Kohli plays in difficult situations. He’s better than anyone. I’d say he’s the best internationally, today. You can back him to play any match.”

During his trip to India, Khan called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and told him that India and Pakistan should restore cricketing ties. However, all he reportedly got in response was a smile.

“I did say he should start the tours, but it was the first time I was meeting him (Modi). If it was our second meeting, I would have said it’s a very immature foreign policy,” said Khan.

Cricketing ties between the two nations took a hit after terrorists attacked Mumbai in 2008.

Khan, however, made a fervent appeal for restoring cricketing ties by saying that all Pakistanis cannot be punished for the incident.

“It’s very immature to punish Pakistan for something they did not agree with. This idea of collective punishment… no human rights (principle) calls for collective punishment. Everyone here condemned the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks. Mind you, we suffer far more terrorist attacks than you do every other day. So, to blame a country that’s actually suffering from the worst form of terrorism, and then to give it this collective punishment, is just very immature,” he said.

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