Virat Kohli: The Ultimate Professional
Another series, another century for Virat Kohli. So, what’s new? The 24th Test century for the Indian captain on a ‘flat’ Indian pitch against a depleted West Indian attack may not seem worth much. Especially, after the high of scoring almost 600 runs in the just concluded England series on their home soil. But is it really that easy?
Though it may seem incredulous, there are actually several instances of wonderful batsmen who were quite successful in away matches, but fared poorly in home matches. India’s own Mohinder Amarnath had home and away averages of 30.44 and 51.86, respectively.
Some great batsmen who had significantly lower averages at home compared to their averages in away matches are Wally Hammond, Allan Border, Stephen Fleming and Graeme Smith. Even AB de Villiers enjoyed much less success at home (47.99) compared to his exploits in away matches (57.22).
A possible reason for the significant dip in home averages for many such players could be that their focus and determination to do well in foreign conditions come down a notch in the more familiar conditions at home. In the highest form of cricket, and at the highest level, such a minor dip is enough for a major dip in performance.
It is only the ultimate professional who never lets his guard down, regardless of the opposition or the condition. A true cricketer would never take any of his challenges lightly. To do so would be disrespecting the opposition.
To maintain an average above fifty in all formats, and especially to have and maintain an average of above fifty in Tests, both away and home, after playing 72 Tests is the mark of a great batsman – one who never lets his guard down.
When Virat takes his time off from cricket, one may see him enjoying his life with friends and family, as any individual is entitled to do. But once on the cricket field, one can rest assured he is going to give his absolute best – whether it is in the swinging conditions of Edgbaston where almost all other batsmen struggle to survive or the batting paradise of Rajkot where young guns like Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant pulverize the opposition.
Amidst the abject failures or rousing successes of his batting partners, Virat remains focused on his primary job – to score runs – in every condition and against every opposition. He is, after all, the ultimate professional.