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Charismatic Kohli

949   //    14 Mar 2012, 11:36 IST

Virat  Kohli is a man of principles, a player who privileges the game and the team over personal loss or gain; a young Kohli made sure he contributed to his team score in a Ranji match despite the extremely saddening occurrence of his father’s death.  The determinate commitment that one saw in Kohli then, and the great example of responsibility that he showcased then has continued and made him a star player of the Indian team.  It was after the Under -19 2008 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia that Kohli the flamboyant cricketer earned praise.  Leading the Indian Under -19 team to victory in the event grabbed the selectors’ eyes.  He was guided into the star studded Indian team and since then there has been no looking back.  He has been one of the most consistent ODI batsmen in recent times in the 50-over format; statistics have shown that Kohli was the the highest run-getter in ODIs in 2011.

He entered the team with some young talent around, the likes of Raina and Rohit Sharma.  There was a time when these three talented players used to struggle for a place in the team.  Raina being more of a pinch hitter was placed lower in the middle order to score in the slog overs, leaving Sharma and Kohli to battle for a place in the middle order.  Kohli, with his consistent run and his ability to seize his chances, has found himself a permanent place in the team.  His batting style is a treat to watch. He’s a good timer of the cricket ball and when he’s in fine touch you can hear the sweet sound that resounds from the middle of his bat.  As soon as he comes to the crease, he’s keen on taking those early singles and rotating the strike.  His running between the wickets is a bonus.  Even before one would realize, he plays himself in and is busy building a partnership.  Keeping his batting skills aside, he’s an excellent fielder.  His commitment and enthusiasm on the field is commendable, moreover one sees him enjoy his fielding.

Although his home series record was appreciated, only a convincing overseas series proved his mettle.  The stage was set for him with the Australian tour; the Indian batting stars were repeatedly struggling in the earlier part of the tour and this was a golden opportunity for Virat Kohli to make his presence known in the Test arena.  With a half century in the third test, we knew it was coming.  The last Test saw the Indian senior batsmen surrendering to the Australian attack yet again, but Kohli took the Australian challenge head on and scored the first ton by an Indian batsman on the tour. His self-belief and determination helped him achieve what the experienced players couldn’t.

Kohli is a player who does not collapse under pressure, rather comes out strongly to face the trials and tribulations of a pressure situation.  It was one such game with the India vs. Sri Lanka in the Australian tri-series which was a must win game for the Indians with some ‘terms & conditions’ applicable for India to stand a chance to make the finals.  Indians needing a mammoth target to win the match, Kohli scored a magnificent  133 not out keeping India’s chances afloat in the CB series.  His aggressive form of play and the sense of responsibility makes him an asset.  The mere look and display of his emotions show the kind of zest he carries.

To reward the young lad for his consistency and excellent cricketing skills, he has now been handed over the vice-captaincy of the ODI team. Being conferred with the vice-captaincy tag over Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag – both much senior to him; might come across as a decision taken in haste.  People do believe that he is ‘captain material’ but he should be given some more time to groom himself as a cricketer first.  The tendency to lose his cool has made him an easy target for the opposition.  Kohli got provoked by a section of abusive spectators at the SCG during the Australian test series and stuck out his middle finger in retaliation.  An occurrence like this translates the aggressive cricketer image into a brash youngster, but one hopes that under the captaincy of Dhoni known for his poised temperament, Kohli will learn to keep his calm under intense situations. One can be assured that he is in the safe hands of our captain M.S. Dhoni.  The Indian cricket team is lucky to have a player of his caliber at a time when the seniors are phasing out.

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