Indore, Oct 11:
International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Famer and former batting legend Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday presented the prestigious ICC Test championship mace to India skipper Virat Kohli for leading his team to the top of the Test rankings.
Gavaskar presented the mace at a ceremony following the conclusion of the third and final Test against New Zealand, which India won by 321 runs at the Holkar Cricket Stadium here.
“It’s an honour and a moment of great pride to receive the ICC Test Championship mace. To be recognised as the best in the traditional form of the game is as good as it gets for any team and stuff that dreams are made of,” Kohli said.
Kohli has become only the second India captain after Mahendra Singh Dhoni and 10th overall to receive the mace, even though it is for the third time since Kohli took over as captain that India has led the rankings table.
India had topped the rankings very briefly in January-February this year as well as in August. India’s longest stint at the number-one position was from November 2009 to August 2011 under Dhoni.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson praised India for regaining the top ranking within weeks of losing it to Pakistan.
“I congratulate India for some fine performances which have helped it win the ICC Test Championship mace during a great period for Test cricket. The number-one ranking has changed hands three times in as many months, indicative of the current competitiveness of Test cricket at the highest level, which is great for players and fans,” Richardson said.
“With other sides in touching distance of the top, the ICC Test rankings continue to provide great context for the traditional format of the game. I wish India the very best in their efforts to stay at number one,” the former Protea stumper added.
Gavaskar said such an accomplishment will be cherished for years to come.
“I have always believed that Test cricket tests you in every way. To come out on top over a period of time and be acknowledged as the best in this format is a big achievement. It is a result of sustained efforts in different conditions,” he said.
“I have some fine memories of Test cricket from my playing days. Taking on a top team in Test cricket was what pumped us up and certainly something that I always looked forward to”.
“There may be three formats of the game now but every cricketer knows that the challenge that Test cricket presents is much more and calls for a different set of skills, grit and character. I congratulate Virat and his team for this fine achievement and wish them all success in the coming years,” the little master added. (IANS)