How Virat Kohli has single-handedly proven the Indian fans wrong
August 18th, 2018 will mark 10 years since Virat Kohli made his debut in 50-over cricket, against Sri Lanka in Dambulla.
However, in a mere span of nine years, the right-hander, through his sheer, almost unmatched, brilliance, has forced experts to rate him as an ODI legend, almost without dispute.
9583 runs in 208 matches at an average of 58 with 35 hundreds.
These are stats one could expect from a player who has competed for more than a decade or is perhaps at the end of his playing career, but instead, they are of someone who has already set his sights on playing for almost another decade.
Usually, when we speak about cricketers who have a high success percentage, we look at their performances home and away.
In some cases, the difference is large while in others it isn't too big.
In Kohli's case, one can say he belongs to a select group, who feature in the latter category.
At home, he has thus far amassed 3830 runs in 79 matches at an average of 58 while away from home, he has scored 4017 runs in 88 matches at 57.
The stats reflect the story of a player who not just enjoys batting all around the world in 50 overs cricket, but also how he is able to almost keep the conditions and the country away from the equation and deliver against any attack.
He is almost doing what Dale Steyn at his peak did with the ball, which was excel everywhere in the world and make South Africa an all-round team.
Few in the sporting world are as harsh about performances as the Indian cricket team fan.
When the team doesn't do well, social media is filled with criticism, sometimes too personal for anyone's liking, jokes, trolls and everything else that denotes negativity.
But it isn't the case only when performances go south.
Even when India have done well at home, as has been the case in the last two years, the supporters have almost always spoken about whether this team can do well overseas.
Throughout the last part of 2017, the talk only revolved around whether this side was capable of excelling in South Africa, the way they did at home.
In that sense, Kohli's performances in South Africa have almost made each of those supporters who questioned the ability, keep mum and admire the excellence on display.
His performances in the 50-over series are further proof of a player who is constantly proving this thinking wrong.
In the past, these thoughts have been proven right and Indian players have been labelled home track bullies, but Kohli is definitely an exception to that line of thought.
He is also a rare breed when it comes to Indian players who play the short ball with great conviction, all around the world.
In the last few years, his signature shot has been the cover drive, but in the last six matches, the ease with which he has pulled the ball whenever South Africa have tested him has almost made it the shot we recognise him for from here on.
For years, the Indian fan has always spoken of the batsmen's inability to play such deliveries on fast, bouncy pitches and Kohli, in one series, has thrown those remarks out of the window.
And yet, despite his performances on this trip, one can be assured that in four months' time, when India travel to England, the doubters will rise again.
The current series will be forgotten and the horrors of 2014 will be spoken about again and again.
The James Anderson threat will take centre stage and Kohli will be seen as the batsman of the past.
However, the Indian fan will do well to not fall for the past struggles and instead look at Kohli as a player much evolved, much more reliable and a genuine world-beater, come July.