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Kohli - The master of the stage

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Virat_Kohli_India_cricketWhen Virat Kohli steps into the arena, he owns it. He makes it his. He is never there just to fill in the numbers. He is no mere dot in the circle, he is the circle. Cricket revolves around the circle he draws. He is confidence and he is authority.

If intent alone were enough to own a thing, then Kohli need never buy a thing. If swagger alone were enough to crush the opponent, then Kohli wouldn’t need a bat. Virat Kohli doesn’t wear the ‘bring it on attitude’ on his sleeve; it is in every minute, countable cell of his bloody body.

 

“I enjoy the crowd being against me, it pumps me up, the more they boo me the more it motivates me”, Kohli had shot back recently after India’s victory over Bangladesh. He cherishes adversity more than the reward.

Virat Kohli came in at the fall of Rohit Sharma in the final of Asia cup and dismissed the 1st ball he faced from Al-Amin. Early wicket, big finals, crowd against you, and all that added build-up of a tense chase; pressure they call it. Virat Kohli trashes it with disdain. 

You and I are no Virat Kohli, we are just supposed to watch what he intends to deliver.

Then he comes forward to one, only the fourth ball of his innings. Swinging away? Too early to risk? A waiting 1st slip?  Doubts rise in the beholder’s mind. The one who is supposed to play the intended cover drive has already played it a hundred times even before his left foot went forward and hands followed. 

He knew exactly what would happen once the ball was pitched up. Those eyes saw it coming a fortnight ago. It was calculated two days ago, it was played the previous night, and he had already run two runs for it, before he actually did. He just made a fool out of us as if it was cover driven, then and there. No it wasn’t.

Then there is that ball, neither threatening nor vicious but very tight, too close to cut and not straight enough to play across. It demands respect. If not pre-determined, it just needs to be played straight for no runs. But Virat Kohli goes back and across, finds enough space to manoeuvre, has enough time to play with soft hands and sprint to the other end. 

No one gasps for breath as it isn’t a monstrous hit, instead, only a single. It’s just a brick he carries to build a fortress. 

A few days ago, against Mohammad Amir, even in a less advantageous position – with Amir swinging the ball like Akram – he was vintage. Amir was calling the shots and others fluttered, but not him. He knew he had to hold back for a while, with all due respect. But with Kohli, even when he holds back, he comes forward. In the midst of all the swing, he leaned into a cover drive.

 

Not once, not twice but on countless occasions now, Kohli has tirelessly shown what he is all about. When India chases, Kohli rises. When Kohli rises, an Indian victory is inevitable. When he steps up, even the best bowling unit in the world struggles to cope with his hunger and intent. Such is his desire.

Tolstoy explains, “Drama, instead of telling us the whole man’s life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible”. Put Kohli in a chase, and watch the proceeding unravel by itself. The whole of Virat Kohli, the man, is visible.

A few days back, he explained the reason behind his hitting more boundaries: He doesn’t have the big shots like others. We must agree. One day, he will explain to us why he scores so many centuries: He doesn’t like scoring 50s. We must agree. Another day, Kohli will say, as he didn’t know how to bowl fast, he chose to become a batsman. We must agree. For the amount of runs he scores, how can we disagree?

In the coming days, Virat Kohli is going to grow further into a monstrous batsman, occupying the cricketing space, with unbelievable speed. He is going to swear and sledge his way to many more centuries all over the world. He isn’t going to be stopped, for his hunger itself will give him thousands of runs a year.

He has acquired, he has conquered, and he has ruled. He will continue to do so until he is bored.

 


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