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Virat Kohli – Dominating The T20 Pack In Flamboyant Style

May 7, 2016


Sometimes it takes a great player to fail for us to realize how good he is. Alliance of focus, divine natural talent and unimpeachable work ethic certainly make Virat Kohli the greatest of this generation. With his spellbinding consistency he has taken us to a level from where it’s almost impossible for us to believe that he can get out cheaply. And even if he does, though once in a blue moon these days, it prompts us to rub our eyes in disbelief – such an aura he has developed!

T20 cricket has completely changed the purview of the game. Thirties have become the new benchmark for statistical analysis instead of half centuries. If a batsman gets out for a quick-fire 30 no one really complains. But again, in a format which allows only 120 legal deliveries to be distributed amongst the top 6 or 7 batsmen, Virat Kohli is consistently producing staggering numbers.

While the other batsmen are busy with finding new ways for scoring runs in the 20-over slog-fest Virat is still doing his stuffs in an old fashioned way and perhaps the most effective way considering the class of his. But how does he manage to do all these things in such an effortless manner? Well, here I use the word “effortless” in a broader perspective of sustaining form for such a long period that it seems as if there is nothing temporary about it. And that’s where he holds the baton, because even though “Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent” remains one of the universal truths from the cricket field, it simply doesn’t turn up for Virat Kohli at all!

With all the speculations going around regarding how does he maintain such a stupendous average of 50+ in all formats of the game, more importantly in T20 internationals; here I look to take you a touch deeper into his batting.

Indispensability of the basics: Right from the very beginning, like most other greats of the game Virat Kohli has been closely following the basics. He belongs to the school of old fashioned orthodox batsmen. He plays every ball as close as possible to the body and right under the eyes while the head stays nice and still. That’s why we rarely see any bowler getting the better of him by sneaking into the gap between his bat and pad.

Building the innings: Even a good batsman is vulnerable early in the innings. But there lies the difference between a good batsman and an extraordinary batsman. A good batsman makes himself look good once he gets set whereas the latter gives the bowlers lesser chance of getting him out at the early stage. That’s where the basics become so important. Kohli is a bit watchful at the start of his innings, scores about a run a ball in the first 10 or 12 balls and then starts playing his shots. Thereon his innings follows a steady upward sloping curve which lifts his strike rate to a formidable 150 mark at the end of his innings.

Cautiousness and responsibility: One of the reasons why Kohli has managed to hold on to his indomitable run of form is his situation awareness. Many players, when at the top of their game start trying different things which they otherwise won’t. Then such things not falling in the right place can result in a couple of dismissals. Adding on to the agony, there might be a harsh call from the umpire in the following innings or a big fielding effort at the boundary ropes to turn a six into a catch. And even before you realize that all these happened, the form is gone! Virat Kohli however has kept this tendency far away from his game. One will never see his playing a lap shot or a reverse sweep. He is a quick learner and immediately presses the alarm as soon as he realizes that he has done something which is against the demand of the circumstances.

Ability to score quick runs with ease: Kohli’s record while chasing for India is phenomenal. He bats with an intimidating authority and is stimulated rather than cowed by pressure. He keeps his composure even when the run rate is 9.5 or 10 right from the outset. Even if it climbs up to 12 an over he will still back his ability to achieve that, and that too without taking the aerial route. Very often he targets the first ball of the over, finds a boundary and puts the bowler under pressure straightaway. Then 8 off 5 doesn’t seem that too difficult for a player of his quality.

Great at using feet against spin: Virat Kohli is the one who relies a lot more on finesse than muscle-power. Though he can hit sixes too, but in most of the cases he uses his body momentum by stepping out rather than playing stand-and-deliver lofted strokes. He plays the inside out shot with an immaculate precision and it goes to show well he can sense the time when he has to come out of his crease. Stepping out too early of course prompts the bowler to bang the ball short which doesn’t allow the batsman to get underneath the ball. On the other hand, if you are late to come out then being on the move it becomes rather difficult to adjust the flight and generate enough power to clear the fence. But whenever Kohli comes down the pitch he looks in total control.

An exceptional runner between the wickets: He knows very well where the fielders are. Moreover he knows how hard he needs to hit the ball so that he can turn the ones into twos. With Virat Kohli batting it seems almost impossible to stop the twos. His strike rate has a lot to do with running those couples. It reduces the need of playing the risky shots, keeps the required run rate under check and adds constant pressure on the fielders as well. A lot of credit goes to his magnificent speed and supernatural fitness level.

Virat’s ODI game has already picked an astonishing level. Now he is turning the heat in the T20s too. Sachin Tendulkar once made us realize that T20 cricket is not all about power hitting. That’s where he redefined the format. And Kohli, being his greatest successor till date is following just that. So many talented cricketers have come and fed away in the past, but Virat Kohli won’t. He is here to stay. Every shot off his bat is a display of something special – a stamp of authority and a signature of class. He is here to stay until he is counted as one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the game.

One Comment
  1. Sharadindu Layek permalink

    Wonderfully written…worth reading… 🙂

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