After the retirements of the golden fab four of Indian cricket – The Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid, The classy VVS Laxman and Dada Sourav Ganguly and it can well be fab five with the destructive Virender Sehwag, Indian cricket was keen to find out who will take forward the batting legacies of these legends?. The wait has not been long.
The answer to their query is Virat Kohli. The 27 year-old has already with his insatiable hunger for runs in all formats has earned his name among the pantheon of greats. He is standing tall in world cricket today. Such has been his form and match winning ability that in very short span of time he has rightly earned adages like – Run Machine, greatest run chaser, and what’s more even comparisons with the great Sachin Tendulkar, whom he idolises. This makes Kohli the hottest property in Indian cricket now .
The comparisons with great Sachin Tendulkar need not be done. Different generation players need not be compared in sport. Let Sachin be Sachin and let Virat be Virat. Likewise it would be unfair to compare Pete Sampras and Roger Federer and in football Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.
Coming to Virat, one of the most significant attributes that probably sets him apart from the rest is his aggression. “Aggression helps me be at the top of my game, wouldn’t change it for anything in the world” , said Virat recently in an interview. And it reflects in his game too. He plays cricket with passion and the determination is there in his eyes. It is this extra that drives Virat whether he is playing for India or Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. He is out there with a mission.
The hallmark of a great player lies in his ability to handle pressure. Virat has shown the uncanny ability to come out on top in tough situations. He has been a phenomenal run chaser for India . And has fashioned many a India win with his astonishing batting when all hopes were lost. That is the magic of Virat Kohli. He is fearless in his game. He has all the shots in the book. He is fantastic runner between the wickets and eager to take on the opposition head on. One of the prime reasons why he is such game changer is his fitness. And even his rivals admit this attribute. “He has exceptional knowledge of cricket – and he is probably one of the hardest trainers that I have ever seen in the game. He’s always down in the gym and I think he does about three hours of training every day. His fitness regimen is really incredible – he does stretching, yoga, power-lifting and then, cricket training. On top of that, there is the weight of the nation as well as the captaincy upon him,” Aussie opener and Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner was recently quoted as saying on what he felt about Kohli’s fitness regimen.
Remember how Kohli gave Mitchell Johnson a taste of his own medicine during the verbal war? It was Virat Kohli at his aggressive best when he commented during a press conference “I respect quite a few of them, but someone who doesn’t respect me I have no reason to respect him,” Kohli said. “There were words in Adelaide as well where they said, ‘No unnecessary respect for him.’ I said, ‘I don’t need it. I am out here to play cricket, not to hear anyone’s respect. As long as I am scoring runs, I am happy with it. If you like it, good. If you don’t, I am not bothered.” Everybody talks about Sourav Ganguly making Steve Waugh wait fore the toss, but Kohli’s absolute contempt for Johnson was indeed amazing.
The nation of a billion earlier used to pin hopes on “ God of cricket” Sachin Tendulkar to bail them out of crisis and help them win. The synonym has now changed in Indian cricket – today Indian cricket’s fortunes depend on Virat Kohli. The Sachin Tendulkar era is now history . It is the Virat Kohli era now. The best batsman in Indian cricket is not from Mumbai but from Delhi. This is another massive change so far as Indian cricket is concerned. The best batsman of the national team always bats at number 3 – position that Virat bats. A slot that three iconic players of their nations made it their own with sheer class – India’s “ The wall” Rahul Dravid, Australia’s Ricky Ponting and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis.
Records are meant to be broken, Sachin Tendulkar’s gigantic records could be broken in the near future by a really phenomenal player. But Kohli recently during an interview to news channel came out with very candid answer that impressed all when he stated : “I don’t challenge myself to break records, I challenge myself to get better at what I do everyday. Records don’t drive me, just want to be the guy who helps my team win matches – that’s all that matters.”
He is young, an icon, aggressive and street smart and does not shy away from speaking his mind and also giving it back – be it a verbal exchange with a rival or questions about Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma. Indian cricket’s future lies in his shoulders in the years ahead. And given his class one can say it is safe hands. For here is a player who plays cricket hard, determined and has a never say die attitude. Attributes that are truly of a superstar. No comparisons please!. Just enjoy Virat Kohli out in the middle. Watching him bat in the middle is really sheer symphony.