Verily the Sky’s the Limit for Kohli
Can there be any limit to Virat Kohli’s achievements? The manner in which the Indian captain is performing no record is safe. He is already acknowledged to be the best among the three formats and in Tests alone ranks a close second to Steve Smith which is saying something about Kohli’s ability given the Australian’s recent feats that have propelled him to the No 1 ranking and the general consensus that he is his country’s best batsman after Sir Donald Bradman.
But comparisons aside what Kohli has achieved is truly phenomenal. One can be careful while talking about the achievements of other players but there is never any danger of getting carried away while discussing Kohli. Any adjective will not be adequate while describing the various facets of his ethereal batsmanship, be it his insatiable appetite for runs and big scores, his intense concentration while at the crease, his free flowing strokes which force the best of bowlers into submission and his immense passion for the game. He is an ideal blend of talent, technique and temperament and that can lead to awesome results. In his case one would readily stick his neck out and say his best is yet to come which is good for Indian cricket and bad news for the opposition.
The most astonishing aspect of Kohli’s batting is that he has got runs and big scores everywhere. Seven double hundreds – the record for an Indian batsman – is just one of many landmarks he has set. Some of his records are next only to Bradman and while they may be a distant second it still represents a notable achievement. He is probably the only active cricketer who can walk into an all time Indian Test XI. It goes without saying that he will be the first choice for an all time Indian ODI XI. To average 60 in this format is nothing short of sensational especially since the batsman has played 230 innings and scored over 11,000 runs.
Even by his lofty standards his unbeaten double century in the just concluded Test against South Africa was simply superlative, an absolute masterclass. His professional approach has inspired his teammates also to rise above their potential. One reckoned that basking under the sterling batsmanship of the Fab Four – or is it the Fab Five - in the first decade of the new millennium Indian cricket was at its glorious best. With Kohli playing the leading role Indian cricket is now approaching a new zenith symbolized by the No 1 Test ranking it has enjoyed for some time now
The stats against Kohli’s name get dizzier and dizzier almost every time he bats. Indeed there just seems to be no stopping the Indian captain. On his way to becoming the quickest to reach this mark or the youngest to reach that mark putting in the shade some of the greatest names in the history of the game Kohli has already ran up an awesome record.
His feats in Tests and ODIs have been well documented but perhaps even more remarkable is Kohli’s performance in cricket’s newest and shortest format. It is a format that calls for very quick scoring marked by big hits which means the risk factor is high. Moreover the restricted number of overs means that knocks are generally explosive and entertaining but short on the duration factor. Astonishingly Kohli averages 50 in T-20 internationals to go along with a highly impressive strike rate of 135. To put these figures in proper perspective let’s examine the figures of two T-20 players who have a sky high reputation - Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum. The former has a strike rate of almost 143 but he averages only 32 while the latter has the same strike rate as Kohli’s but averages 35.
Mesmerizing as these statistics are what stands out is Kohli’s temperament. Unlike many others who are burdened by the responsibilities of captaincy he relishes the challenge and has scored more runs and centuries as captain than as a player. He is least overawed by a bowler’s reputation or the precarious position his side is in and displays a ruthless streak. He plays his strokes freely – even with gay abandon – befitting someone who is confidence personified. His hitting is bold and vigorous but he also plays cultured strokes all round the wicket even as his defence is secure which makes him the toughest batsman to bowl to in world cricket today.
As a batsman Kohli is in a league of his own. He has rightly been acknowledged as the best batsman in cricketing history across three formats. His hunger for success knows no boundaries and verily the sky is the limit for Kohli. He is at the peak of his powers and ''King Kohli’ is not likely to step down for quite a while.