A very happy birthday to India's run machine - Virat Kohli

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 his girlfriend Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma

A very happy birthday to India

After the golden fab four of Indian cricket – The Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, 'The Wall' Rahul Dravid, The classy VVS Laxman and Dada Sourav Ganguly, it can well be fab five with the destructive Virender Sehwag, Indian cricket was keen to find out who would take forward the batting legacies of these legends? Luckily, the wait was not for long, as the answer came in the form of Virat Kohli.

The flamboyant and aggressive skipper of Test team has turned 28 today. He is already being counted among the greats now with his insatiable hunger for runs, be it in any format.

Such has been his form and match winning ability that in a very short span of time, he has rightly earned adages like – Run Machine, the greatest run chaser and currently holds the tag of the best young batsman in world cricket. England's Joe Root and Aussie Steve Smith are Kohli's rivals for this tag.

Kohli's run hunger has seen him being compared with the great Sachin Tendulkar, whom he idolises.

He is also a huge admirer of  ' The Wall"  of Indian cricket Rahul Dravid.   Kohli had shared a photo collage of a younger version of him admirably staring at Rahul Dravid.

Comparisons with great Sachin Tendulkar need not be done at all. Different generation players need not be compared in sport. That is totally unfair.  Let Sachin be Sachin and Virat be Virat. Just as 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. That is to win every match -- be it Test, ODI Twenty, or an IPL match.

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 win for India 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.

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 being aggressive for making then Aussie skipper Steve Waugh wait for the toss, but Kohli's absolute contempt for Johnson is not talked about much in the same vein as Ganguly's.

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.

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 his girlfriend  Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni  is not getting younger anymore and it is inevitable that Virat will soon in the years ahead lead India in all formats once the legendary MSD bids adieu. Indian cricket’s future lies in Virat's strong shoulders . And given his class  one can vouch 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 and a modern generation legend.