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Virat Kohli - The shining star of Indian Cricket

Ayan Acharya
ANALYST
Feature
2.75K   //    25 May 2015, 22:44 IST
Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

He marks his guard. Feet shoulder-length apart. Head steady as a rock. Eyes on the ball. And the bat safely tucked behind the foot. The stand-in test captain Virat Kohli is ready to face some sweet chin music down under. He gets a snorter from Mitchell Johnson first up that hits him flush in the helmet.

With memories of Phil Hughes’ tragic demise still fresh in their minds, the Australians run to Kohli’s aid. But the batsman just shoos them away and gets on with his business. He remained not out on 48 at the end of day 3 and a day later, scored a vital hundred that kept India in the test match.

That is Virat Kohli for you – unflinching in the face of challenge, imperious in his style and thorn for the opponents. At his best, he can drive toe-crushers through the covers with utter disdain and at his weakest, he can be found guilty of flirting with the ball in the channel of uncertainty. From an irregular No. 3 batsman to becoming the backbone of the Indian batting, Virat Kohli has indeed come a long way in his cricketing career. Known for his belligerence with the bat, Kohli has been the architect of many successful run chases for India in the recent past.

Learning from mistakes is Kohli’s strong suit

The key to Kohli’s success lies in his perseverance and willingness to learn from past mistakes. During the tour to England last year, Kohli hit his worst patch in Tests scoring 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0 and 7 from the four Tests he played. Throughout the entire series, Virat was found reaching out for deliveries swinging away from the off-stump, frequently edging one to either the keeper or to the fielders stationed in the slips. Such lack of patience and discipline on his part drew a lot of flak and the rising superstar of Indian cricket found himself under the cosh.

But instead of caving under pressure, Kohli revised his stance and has come out stronger and more re-assuring ever since. He now takes an off-stump guard and does not stay put in the crease. That allows him to attack the bowlers forcing them to alter their length and if they still stick to their original lengths; he can cover the late seam movement and play his free-flowing drives without any uncertainty. The Australians were at the receiving end of a revived Virat Kohli as he amassed four hundreds in the series Down Under overtaking the legendary Rahul Dravid as the highest run-scorer in a series in Australia.

Watching him bat is like witnessing a gladiator in action – Unforgiving in attack, relentless in pursuit and lucid in style. Be it his exuberant celebrations after scoring a hundred or a seemingly withdrawn face after a heavy defeat, he wears his heart up his sleeve and makes sure that his opponents know that.

Having etched his name in the echelons of cricketing grandeur at such a tender age, one can’t help but marvel at this player’s intangible ability to turn pressure situations into run scoring opportunities. Very few cricketers in the modern times have been able to juggle between their roles of a No. 3 batsman and a finisher effortlessly. Kohli is surely one of them and that makes him a master in the art of ODI batting. 

Like a connoisseur, his stroke-making is spotless. The swagger of his wrist movement, the audacity of his bat’s follow through and flamboyance of the foot-work all make for an exquisite display of batting. With Sachin Tendulkar having walked into the sunset, Kohli, with all his talent, is set to become the most feared Indian batsman for opponents. Maybe, he already has.

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Ayan Acharya
ANALYST
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