Even in an era where there are a number of outstanding young batsman Virat Kolhi stands out. He is the most luminous of the young batting stars in the game today and across all three formats is clearly the best batsman in contemporary cricket. The competition is pretty stiff with the likes of Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith around not to mention the older stars like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Younis Khan. But the unbelievable strokes that the Indian captain is playing these days and the form that he has exhibited puts him on the pedestal all by himself.

Indeed both as batsman and captain Kohli can do wrong at the moment. He is amassing runs and leading India to victory over and over again. For some years now he has been acknowledged by experts as one of the outstanding batsmen in the contemporary game able to hold his own even in a competitive field.

But since he has taken over the captaincy he has proved that he is the kind of leader that teams can do with in world cricket today – aggressive and enterprising with more than a touch of the innovative being uncannily right in his bowling changes and field placements.

Leading from the front comes naturally to him. He is clearly the latest in the line of Indian superstars over the last 45 years – a lineage that started with Sunil Gavaskar and continued with Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni. A batsman who averages 50 in all three formats in the game has to be someone very special and that’s exactly what Kohli is.

Contrary to some other leading batsmen who get bogged down by the responsibilities of captaincy Kohli in fact has thrived on it. His run feats have seen him set records, left, right and centre. At 28, he is at the peak of his game and there is every reason to believe that his best still lies ahead which is good news for the Indian camp and bad news for opponents.

Verily the sky is the limit for Kohli. He has all the strokes in the book, possesses a watertight technique and temperamentally he is very strong. Captaincy has made him more mature and what we have seen for some time now is a cricketer who is still tough but one who can keep his emotions under control.

Not too long ago his behaviour was unacceptable; now he is the calming influence on the team something that was seen during the Ravi Ashwin – James Anderson fracas in the recent Mumbai Test against England. And the maturity extends to his off the field activities too for he has the happy knack of saying the right things at press conferences and public functions.

I have no doubt that this controlled behaviour has a lot to do with Kohli touching new peaks with the bat as also his leadership qualities. He is now able to channelize his best efforts towards concentrating on his batting and making the right decisions as captain. And the net result that he is among the most difficult batsmen to bowl to today even as he leads the team from one victory to another.

It was never going to be easy to follow in MS Dhoni’s footsteps given the kind of success he achieved. But Kohli remarkably has matched his predecessor’s success rate and this is borne out by figures - five successive series triumphs and 18 Tests without defeat besides leading India back to the No 1 ranking.

Even old timers who are biased towards their own generation and always speak of how ''great’’ former cricketers were as compared to the ''puny’’ moderns are in agreement that Kohli is one who with the passage of time will join the ranks of the all-time greats. He has this insatiable hunger for success and the ability to perform under pressure. He has frequently scripted some astonishing run chases in ODIs quite often with a hundred as he underlined once again with a masterly performance in the first ODI against England at Pune. That hundred was superlative even by Kohli’s lofty standards both for his ethereal strokes and the manner in which he turned the innings around gloriously from a precarious 63 for four to a comfortable victory making light of a formidable target of 351. Initially he was considered an ODI great but not as much in Test cricket. Now of course he is a confirmed great in all three formats of the game though he is perhaps at his classiest in the 50-over game.

For all his sublime batting skills I feel that Kohli’s biggest asset is his temperament. He is least overawed by a bowler’s reputation or the precarious position his side is in. He plays his strokes freely – even with gay abandon – befitting someone who is confidence personified. He first excelled in this regard in ODIs equalling or surpassing records standing in the name of giants and legends of the game but his domination has since extended to cricket’s traditional format too while being a natural in the game’s shortest format.

Bat in hand Kohli displays wondrous skills. His hitting is bold and vigorous and he also plays cultured strokes all round the wicket. His defence is secure and he relishes a challenge. Add to this his captaincy qualities and fielding skills and it is easy to see why Kohli fully deserves the hero worship that he enjoys in world cricket.

If Kohli can keep his feet firmly planted on Mother Earth and does not allow success to go to his head, the world is his oyster. After all he is not the kind to rest on his laurels. Even after tasting considerable success in both his roles he is still hungry for greener pastures and is always on the look-out for new peaks to conquer. Fully aware that England is the one country in which he has not been among the runs – he had a dismal Test series in his only outing in that country in 2014 with just 134 runs from ten innings – he has expressed his eagerness to play county cricket before the next contest in 2018. That’s Kohli the perfectionist for you.