A day after Virat Kohli created history by scoring 50th century in the World Cup semifinal against New Zealand, former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu Thursday described Kohli as the “greatest Indian batsman ever”, equating him with the strong and courageous Hercules, the Roman equivalent of Greek mythological divine hero Heracles.
In a post on X, Sidhu said, “Having been witness to Indian cricket for the last five decades I am of the considered opinion that Virat Kohli is the greatest Indian batsman ever … thrives under pressure , most of his match winning efforts chasing against odds – big occasion player ! … adaptability to all formats of cricket home and abroad remarkable – Supreme fitness allows him to punch above his weight !”
The cricketer-turned-politician termed Kohli as the most charismatic role model for the younger generation. “Distance from Earth to the sky is not a matter of altitude but attitude… his never-say-die spirit and mental fortitude make him the most Charismatic role model to inspire kids worldwide! … today he Stands tall in the World Cup like a Hercules flexing his muscles… @imVkohli,” he wrote.
After his debut in the ODI format of cricket in 1983-84 and a cricketing career spanning 19 years followed by his signature style commentary, Sidhu took a political plunge in 2004, contesting and winning as a BJP nominee in 2004 from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. He was elected a Lok Sabha MP thrice and nominated to the Rajya Sabha once.
Sidhu quit BJP in January 2017 to join Congress, got elected from the Amritsar East assembly segment and was part of the council of ministers led by the then Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Sidhu, however, lost the 2022 Assembly elections and had to spend time in jail after the Supreme Court awarded him one-year imprisonment in a road rage case of 1988. He walked out of Patiala Central jail after completing his term in April this year.
As a cricketer, Sidhu, the right-handed batsman, played 136 ODIs scoring six centuries and 33 half centuries. He played 51 test matches, scoring nine centuries and 15 half-centuries.
Sidhu’s cricketing career was tumultuous and had many twists and turns and crests and troughs. From being discredited as “strokeless wonder”, Sidhu went on to earn the sobriquet of “Sixer Sidhu” due to towering sixes he hit.
Annoyed over the alleged repeated reprimand by then Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Sidhu had returned midway from 1996 tour of England.