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One For The Future: Virat Kohli!

In the last 2 years India has won 25 ODIs chasing totals, and incredibly there has been only one player featuring in all those 25 contests - Virat Kohli! 5 not out innings, 6 hundreds, and an average of 69.65 during this period are numbers which illustrate the kind of impact this man has had in the Indian batting line-up.  He has gone out to overhaul a few records and with the kind of form he is in, many more won’t have a longer life.

He doesn’t belong to the Dravid-way of batting, neither Sehwag-like but has a game which can aptly be described by ‘controlled aggression’. There are lots of likeable things to his style of batting - straight bat strokes, quick feet against spinners, ability to play on both sides of the wicket and good hand-eye co-ordination. Of all the recent Indian batting talent that has been put to play, Virat Kohli has been the only one to have been delivering the goods with more-than-reasonable consistency. At 23 and going through the form of his life Virat Kohli promises to be India’s batting sensation and mainstay over the next decade or so.

It is natural for any bright, new, exciting prospect to receive attention instantaneously; the key to sustain that is to maintain discipline and dedication on & off the field. Virat has been infamously been caught on several occasions of behavior on-field which you don’t quite associate with role-models, he has a brash attitude to batting at times and you almost get a ‘bad-boy’ image about him off-field. There are lots of good things going for him at the moment; the real test of his attitude will only come when things aren’t going his way. Virat has been promoted as the vice-captain of the ODI side, he has led the under-19 Indian team but for him to step up the next obvious level would need him to mature more.

Hashim Amla, Cook, de Villiers (and a few others) have been the run-scoring machines for their respective sides recently, a huge aspect of England and South Africa having a consistent run, Virat Kohli could be the one for India and help revive the team's fortunes in test cricket. Add his dibbly-dobbly bowling and exceptional ground fielding and catching and the end product is a tailor-made package for limited overs cricket. It has been said about the necessity to prove class in test cricket and that good players have good test-match careers, Virat’s knocks Down Under earlier this year augur well for his future and also for India’s middle order which has and will have a few huge vacancies to fill.

During his current outstanding run he has answered a few questions of his ODI cricket - can he shift gears seamlessly? Can he rotate strike during a period when wickets are falling? Can he be your anchor? Can he control the middle overs? And a few in test cricket as well - does he have the temperament to handle hostile bowling in tough terrain? Does he have the endurance to concentrate and push for hundreds rather than neat 50s & 60s? Like a screening exam, Virat Kohli has passed the first hurdle with relative ease and a share of fight (remember he had to struggle to silence critics in test cricket). India doesn’t have any major away tour in the next 18 months, which won’t help us in discovering the following aspects of his game - can he stick out the team from a situation say 18-3 in bowler-friendly conditions? Can he scratch himself from a period of low scores/bad form on seaming, swinging tracks? Can he handle a barrage of short stuff without succumbing? There are a lot of expectations of him (some have even started comparing him to Sachin!), no reason why he cannot satiate them. At the moment though let us sit back and enjoy a very good batsman going through the form of his life!


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