Virat Kohli, King Among Royals


Game changer

With the majestic Chris Gayle opening the innings for them and a genius like AB De Villiers manning the middle order – one a raging tempest, a cricketing incarnate of Ares; the other a batting Zeus, who leaves you in awe – the Royal Challengers Bangalore must be the envy of rival teams.

But if you were to pick one batsman from that team to bat for your life, who would it be? Gayle? A passenger ride with the Hurricane Hunters would seem safer. AB? With his kamikaze spirit? Pass.

Virat Kohli would be the man. He is the Adonis of batting, charming even the ladies with his elegance and inviting marriage proposals over Twitter, most famously from England off-spinner Danielle Wyatt. After his performance at the just-concluded World Twenty20, you could call him Atlas as well.

In six matches, he scored 319 runs in Bangladesh, including a defiant 77 in the final against Sri Lanka, to return home with the player of the tournament honours. He crossed 50 in four of those innings and finished with an average of 106.33.

“I have seen and played with quite a few big players in my career, and I can vouch that this man is right up there,” Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, wrote in his column.

“They say he is in love with big chases and very rightly so. He is turning himself into a little genius and will break a lot of records in the future.”

It may seem blasphemous to a few Indian fans, but even the mighty Sachin Tendulkar’s batting records might not be safe.

“Big shout, but Kohli is the only Indian player that could get close to Sachin,” Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, said on Twitter last week.

Sunil Gavaskar, the Indian batting legend, went a step farther last November, saying Kohli will go on to break Tendulkar’s records, certainly in one-day internationals.

“India is blessed to have somebody of the talent of Virat Kohli coming through,” Gavaskar said. “He reads the conditions and situation well, he knows the opposition well and that’s the reason why he is scoring so consistently.”

Kohli does read the conditions and situations well, though his often ugly behaviour on the field might force some people to think he rarely uses his grey matter.

“It’s all about analysing how many runs have been scored before I walk in to bat and what rate we are going at,” he said in Bangladesh.

A look at his IPL statistics makes that obvious.

He is yet to score a century in the tournament, but he is still RCB’s leading run scorer with 2,273. A lot of those runs (975) have come in ones and twos, and yet he has a healthy strike rate of 124.13.

That, according to the West Indies great, Brian Lara, makes him special. “The beauty about Kohli’s batting is that even though he hasn’t hit a single boundary his strike rate is still more than 100,” Lara said on Twitter last week. “What a dynamic player!”

© TheNational



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