Category Archives: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli : From arrogant prick to invincible man 

Early in Virat Kohli’s career, the term which was associated with him was arrogant and obnoxious (being from Delhi helped him to get that infamous tag). His arrogance was more talked about than his performance. Many of us who have grown up watching how gracefully Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid carried themselves on and off the field thought who is this arrogant prick?

Virat Kohli’s attitude was too much to handle for a generation who were taught that humbleness is greatest trait. Yes, we have seen a bit of arrogance in Ganguly but even he was no match for Kohli.

To everyone’s surprise that obnoxious behaviour which led to the downfall of many upcoming players in different sports (remember Mario Balotelli of Italy) was propelling Virat Kohli. He started to perform big with the bat with it his arrogance grew even more. He became an Australian in the Indian colours. Big on performance, big on attitude. I, me, myself kind of player. He performed well and then pissed off everyone: opponent, team-mates, and spectators. I became fan of this Kohli and I hated myself for it. How can I who loved graciousness of Sachin and Dravid can be fan of this prick.May be his performance started to get him the respect that he deserved.

There was always one thought at the back of my mind that all this graciousness is seen as timidity in this big bad world when you don’t win. Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India started to win big finals but the humbleness remained and some part of me wanted someone from Indian Team to show off a little bit that we have arrived and have no fear and that’s where Kohli fit the bill. He was still the prick. He sledged Aussies “the original sledge masters” and terrified them with it. I became fan but still didn’t love him. He was still an Aussie in the Indian colours.

Then the captaincy came to him and surprisingly things changed drastically. He reigned in his aggression and transformed it to controlled aggression. His aggression was his driving force and it led to many mistakes too but now his controlled aggression made him invincible.

Combination of that controlled aggression and performance is what i always wanted to see in Indian players because that’s what every champion player is made of. Performance was always there in many players but not the attitude that Kohli has and when, in few instances, some of the players showed aggression, the performance was not there and they looked like joker at the end of it( remember Sreesanth )

Kohli’s controlled aggression is rubbing off on other Indian players too. Kohli came and removed any shred of timidity that was haunting Indian team and started to assert. He was no more someone who was aggressive to get some attention but he does it to get performances out of himself and terrify opposition.

If Sachin Tendulkar represented aspiring India which fought for a place in this World. Kohli is symbol of a new India that is confident about itself and believes that top position is their rightful place. I hope Kohli continues like that for years to come and take Indian Cricket to the height that Aussies achieved in 90s and early 2000s or what West Indies achieved in 70s and 80s.


Virat Kohli: Hitting sixes in limited overs, ducking bouncers in Tests

Virat Kohli has been phenomenal for India in the limited overs cricket. He is a match winner and his exploits while chasing targets in limited overs cricket is exceptional. Recently, many experts have started to use the term ‘Fab Four’ for the group of four fantastic batsmen – Steven Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Virat Kohli.They are also sometimes loosely termed as a modern great. The question here is: Is he really that good that he can be termed as modern great or be included in the ‘Fab Four’?

Kohli’s record in the limited overs cricket doesn’t leave us with any doubt about his greatness in the shorter format of the game, but what about his records in the test cricket ?

Test statistics

Virat Kohli averages 43.76 in 47 Test matches, which is good but not great. Kohli has cemented his place at No. 4 after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, and in 27 Tests post the retirement of Tendulkar, Kohli averages 45.45. That is again good, but not great.Another defining moment in Virat Kohli’s career is when he got test captaincy after MS Dhoni decided to quit test cricket. Since becoming captain, he has played 15 Tests and averages 42.26 with 3 centuries and 2 half-centuries, which is again nothing home to write about.

Now let us compare Virat Kohli with his contemporaries.

In all test matches

Name                           No. of Tests      Runs    Average  100s  50s            Innings per 50 plus score
Virat Kohli                    47                       3326        43. 76      12      12                               3.33
Steven Smith               44                      4099        58.55        15      17                               2.53
Kane Williamson        53                       4493        51.05         14     23                               2.62
Joe Root                         46                      4005         54.86        10     22                              2.625

Record at home of opponents

Name                          No. of Test          Runs      Average   100s  50s        Innings per 50 plus score
Virat Kohli                    28                       2186         44.61         9        5                                3.57
Steve Smith                 22                       2075         57.63         7        9                                2.56
Kane Williamson       31                        2564         47.48         9       12                               2.76
Joe Root                        15                        1117           46.54         2        7                                3.11

Record as Captain

Name                          No. of Test          Runs      Average    100s    50s
Virat Kohli                   16                        1228          49.12           5         2
Steve Smith                14                        1559           74.23           7         6
Kane Williamson        5                         456            76.00          1          4
Joe Root                      **                          **              **               **      **

** Joe Root has not captained England in any Test Match.

From the stats above, it’s clear that Virat Kohli is lagging behind in Test cricket. When his overall record is compared with other three of ‘Fab Four’, he lags far behind in terms of average, runs or in the number of innings taken to score a 50 plus score.Same is the case when his records at away Test matches are scrutinized; apart from the famous Australian tour in 2014-15, he has not much to show.

The Indian greats vs Kohli.

The line of greatness hovers at around the batting average of 50 or above in Test cricket. On the eve of India’s 500th Test, many experts and ex-players picked India’s all-time Test XI. Everyone picked Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in their India’s all time XI.

Interestingly, all four averaged around or above 50 in the Test cricket. However, many did not pick VVS Laxman and Ganguly. Both of them, interestingly, averaged around or below 45 in Test cricket.

Virat Kohli, at present, averages 43.76 in Test cricket, which is far below the line of greatness, i.e., batting average of 50 or above.

Modern day great?

The 27-year-old’s Test record does not justify the tag of ‘Modern Day Great’. With the brilliance that Virat Kohli has shown in the limited overs cricket, his performances in Test cricket has left a lot to be desired.However, a player cannot be solely judged on stats. His record at away Test matches as well as his overall records, does not reflect the ability and the kind of talent that Virat Kohli possesses.

He certainly has the talent to be a ‘modern great’, because a player cannot have an average of 50 plus in ODI and a genius in limited overs cricket without having the ability to become a Test great.However, he certainly needs to pull up his performances in the Test cricket and it is more a question of when and not if he will do it.

Test Cricket is the ultimate battlefield, the ultimate Test, where greats of the game are born.If Virat Kohli wishes to be in the league of the greats of the game, he has to turn it around in Test cricket. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing justice to himself or his prodigious talent.

This article has also been published here at sportskeeda.

Evolution of Virat Kohli in T20 Cricket

Virat Kohli is in majestic touch, it doesn’t matter in which format he plays, he stamps his authority over bowlers but his authority and stupendous success in T20 cricket is to some extent surprising. He is neither a six hitter like Dhoni or Gayle nor he relies on unconventional shots like dilscoop, helicopter shot, reverse sweep, switch hit or the unimaginable shots that AB de Villiers plays in T20/ODI cricket. These unconventional shots and six hitting ability is considered as necessary ammunition to succeed in T20 cricket but Virat plays conventional shots in all three format of the game. He has managed to establish himself as most successful T20 player without taking risk and going for glory shots that others’ do.

What is most impressive about Virat Kohli is that he didn’t ditch his textbook shots to succeed in T20 cricket instead he learnt more textbook shots which made him a player who can hit all around the park and has option of playing two or three different kind of shots at every kind of ball thrown at him.

When he started to play for team India, he was more of a leg side player and was having problems facing deliveries aimed at 4th and 5th stump line. He not only recognised his shortcomings but also removed them successfully. Now, if someone watches Kohl playing those exquisite and breath-taking cover drives, they will never realise that once Kohli was predominantly onside player. Another aspect that he improved is, reducing percentage of dot balls in his innings, he has become a player who, in middle overs, scores most of the runs by running hard between the wicket rather than taking unnecessary risks and throwing away his wickets. This alone makes him a great threat for opponents because most of them wait for batsmen to take unnecessary risk to get their wicket. Evolving oneself by removing shortcomings is sign of a player who is destined for greatness and Kohli seems to be in cusp of greatness.

At start of his career, he used to bat lower down the order and was not able to contribute much for team’s cause. In 5 innings, that he played lower down the order in T20Is, he just managed to score 59 runs at an average of mere 29.50. Few years later, good sense prevailed, Dhoni and others in Indian team think tank realised that Kohli relies more on timing than on power so he is better suited to anchor the inning and set the tempo for the team rather than forcing him to bat lower down the order and burden him with power hitting to finish the inning. Considering this, Kohli was promoted to number three and as they say, rest is history.

At number 3 in T20 cricket, in 34 inning, he scored 1395 runs at a staggering average of 58.12. He has been a revelation at number 3 not just for Indian cricket but for the world. His year on year stats reveals how he is scaling new heights and improving as a cricketer.

Duration Innings Run  Average Strke Rate 50s
Jan 2010 to Dec  2011 5 87 21.75 119.17 0
Jan 2012 to Dec 2013 14 500 38.46 132.62 4
Jan  2014 to Dec 2015 9 429 71.50 135.75 5
Jan 2016 to 27 Mar 2016 11 536 107.20 133.66 6

Another criteria, which can make any player great is his away matches performance and in this regard Virat Kohli is far ahead from his contemporaries

Innings Runs Average 50s
Home Matches 13 437 39.72 3
Away Matches 26 1115 65.58 12

Since his arrival, India has won 29 matches, in which he scored 1169 runs at an average of 73.06. His match winning capability can be seen from the fact that in the 17 match that India won while chasing Virat Kohli has scored 737 run at a staggering average of 122.83, yes you have read it right that’s the batting average not the strike rate. Another fact that reflects his match winning capability is that out of his 15 T20 international 50s, 12 led to victory of team India. He relishes big moment and thrives under pressure. His love for big stages can be seen from the fact that in World Cup T20 since 2012, he has played 15 matches and scored 688 runs at an average of 76.44 with 8 fifties. He not only contribute big in India’s win but also remains till last to see India across the line. He has hit 8 match winning 50s while chasing and he remained not out in 6 of them proves that.

T20 career of Virat Kohli has just started, he had played just 42 T20Is but he has shown to the world what capabilities he possess to destroy the opponents with proper cricketing shots. In the era, where purist are hating T20 cricket because it is destroying the beauty of the game (as perceived by them). Virat Kohli has come as fresh air and once again restored the faith of purist that technique and conventional cricket matters the most to be successful at highest level and that’s true even in T20Is.

This article has been published here at sportskeeda.


Virat Kohli : The Showman of Indian Cricket

There is world of footballers which is filled with style, on the field and off the field show offs, dating supermodels, driving super cars  and then there is life of Indian cricketers where one is expected to be modest, humble and politically correct all the time. Football has seen many players who not only play well but also are style icons and have flamboyance in them which made them a brand that everyone looks up to. Beckham, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic are few players who fall in this category. They not only entertain people all over the world with their game but are also style icons and are loved by women/girls. Their fame makes even best in hollywood envy of them.

Indian cricket has seldom seen such players. Sachin, Dravid were great players but not style icons and definitely not the ones who would like to show off. Yuvraj Singh to some extent fit in both category. Dhoni on the other hand was successful both as player and as brand ambassador of many companies but we don’t associate flair and “i am the best attitude” with Dhoni.

Cricket has changed big time post the introduction of T20 cricket and so have the players. Indian cricket has found one such player who is not only best in his game but also has unmatchable flair and attitude and called as spoiled brat: the name of the player is Virat Kohli.

When Virat came in team India in 2008, a little bit of Delhi’s flair and attitude was visible but he was nowhere close to what he is now; perfect in batting, perfect in style, perfect in attitude. Hundreds of article have been written on his exceptional ability to chase targets and his century making spree, so i would like to dive into other aspects of Kohli.

Virat Kohli is more proud than what suits to a star like him, he loves the all the attention, he loves the camera, he has tattoos all over his body, has a different hairstyle for different seasons, has a perfect beard, he also has a fit body and six pack abs. Not long ago, he was dating a superstar girl from bollywood and unlike others he didn’t hide his love for her. He publicly acknowledged his love for her through his famous flying kiss after scoring half century against Sri Lanka. All this was never expected from an Indian cricketer. He is expected to be humble and down to earth guy who lets his game do all the talking and here is Kohli doing exactly opposite of what is prescribed.

There is one famous line that can be associated with Kohli : “Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him” . His performances, his antics makes sure that people will notice him.

When you see attitude of Kohli, it’s very unlike Indian attitude of “being humble” and “let the bat do the talking” attitude. He is in face of opposition all the time and reminds them that he is gonna beat the hell out of them. Ganguly was a player that came close to having such attitude but he was not as frequent as Kohli is in pricking opponents and sometimes even team-mates and fans.

Kohli has more of the Aussie DNA than Indian DNA and much like Ricky Ponting, Hayden and other great Aussies, he backs his attitude with great performances. When he says to a bowler that he is going to hit him all over the park, he means business and he does it more often than not. Grin, behind the helmet, that comes after he hits bowlers all over the park, defalte and hurts the bowlers. It makes them look like lesser mortals compared to immortal brilliance of Kohli.

In recently concluded India-Australia series, it was funny to watch Faulkner sledge Kohli, it seemed that Faulkner deliberately forgot that Kohli has more Aussie attitude than what current Aussie XI possess together and Faulkner, more obviously, paid price for it. May be someone like Ponting can give Kohli some fight in sledging battle but not this new generation of Aussies.

A decade or two earlier his behaviour would have been branded as obnoxious but for this generation he is audacious and represents the young India that is no longer under hangover of colonial supremacy. He represents the young India that doesn’t like tag of underdogs or aspiring champions,  they are impatient for success and sees champions tag as their well deserved right,

No one can forget Ganguly’s shirt waving at Lords balcony or V. Prasad’s send off to Aamir Sohail. These moments excites us and gives us happiness, Kohli gives us these moments in every series. He goes out, pricks the ego of opposition with his words, with his antics and then follows up with great performances and wins the match for India. The more is the pressure, the better is the performance of  Kohli. He never gives up and takes responsibility of taking team across the finishing line.

His frustration at his own failures, at his teammates’ failure doesn’t have a negative connotation. His emotions gets better of him because he is passionate for game, passionate for win and wants his teammates to do well.  As a captain, he expects same passion and zeal from his players. His attitude, visibly, rubs off on the players as well, which is evident from a much changed and aggressive attitude of team India under his captaincy.

His attitude had many critics in early stages of his career but slowly and gradually he won over them with his performances and with his respect for game. He is the showman of Indian cricket. He has become what Sachin Tendulkar was for previous generation: an inspiration. He is Sachin Tendulkar of this generation with flair of Cristiano Ronaldo and attitude of Muhammad Ali.

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

~ Muhammad Ali 

this article was first published in Sportskeeda.