Kohli - Fighting fire with fire
Date : 29-12-2014
28 December 2014
In terms of a cricketing stage, it doesn’t get much bigger than the MCG. But every stage needs a performer who can do justice to it.
Enter Virat Kohli.
And one hundred and sixty nine runs later, he exited the ground to a standing ovation.
Kohli blunted Australia’s biggest bowler, “The Beast,” Mitchell Johnson. His fifteen boundaries against Johnson dissected the field with surgeon-like precision. Sixty eight runs were hit off the seventy three deliveries Johnson bowled to Kohli.
In fading light in the last over of the day, it would take a stunning catch by Brad Haddin to end Kohli’s stay. Johnson got the wicket. But the day belonged to Kohli.
For Kohli, batting is an escape where he can freely express his emotions. Impetuous drives over cover and full-blooded pulls are mixed with subtle glides and elegant flicks.
Virat Kohli represents the ‘New India.’ He is in-your-face, supremely confident and doesn’t care a damn about what people think of him. Some may call him arrogant, disrespectful, brash or even a “rich brat.”
Virat Kohli’s care factor is zero. Such is his self-belief.
Love him or hate him, what is unquestionable is his skill with the bat, his swagger on the field and his charisma off it. Even at the age of 26, his feats on the cricket field have already propelled him to superstar status. He already has more Twitter followers than Sachin Tendulkar.
When Tendulkar ended his glorious career after 24 years, he vacated the number 4 slot in India’s test batting order. The gap that he left was unimaginable. But Virat Kohli has seamlessly handled the transition and is making that position his own.
Kohli has supreme confidence in his ability and backs himself to be on top of the opposition. Throw him a challenge and his eyes light up. Get into a verbal with him and he will repay the favour and then some. Here is a player that simply refuses to take a backward step. And that is what makes him so compelling to watch.
He is like a Gladiator and the pitch is his arena. It is his turf. And he knows he belongs. The more his opponents egg him on, the more Kohli gets fired up. He uses his instigators as fuel to bring out his A-Game. “You guys hate me, and I like that,” said Kohli bringing out the unmistakable warrior within.
Sachin Tendulkar will long be remembered for his ability to take the game to the opposition, of waging the lone war numerous times for India and of having an enviable record against the Australians.
Virat Kohli appears to be an ardent disciple of the master and intent on following in his footsteps. A successful tour of Australia is said to define you as a cricketer. Kohli said so himself ahead of this series. He set himself up a target and is now imposing his stamp of authority.
“It’s when the chips are down that you have got to stand up. Say what you have to say and then go out there and prove it.” And he has been proving it. India are 0-2 in this series. Yet Kohli has scorched three centuries and 445 runs.
Australians love to see a fighter and someone who has the skill and mastery to stand up and battle it out. He has scored four test hundreds in Australia in his last four tests. And he is not finished yet.
Virat Kohli is not seeking to be respected. Nor does he care if he is liked.
He summed it up himself perfectly at the post play press conference, “I am going there to play cricket.”
And he does it pretty well.
Navneet Ganesh is the founder of Infinity Cricket and is passionate about the sport and its development. He founded Infinity Cricket in 2010 with a vision of ‘Connecting people through Cricket.’ Infinity Cricket organizes Australia’s premier ‘open’ T20 cricket events at the grassroots level and has a presence in two cities: Melbourne & Brisbane. Navneet also has a keen interest in writing about cricket.