When you talk about wrist-play in Indian cricket, you talk about two special players - VVS Laxman and Mohammad Azharuddin. They are the idols for any batsman who believes in elegance. Both are from Hyderabad and right now India is playing a Test against Bangladesh at the home of those two Indian greats. Kohli gave them his own tribute in using that wrist work to complete his century by fetching balls pitched outside off and playing them on the leg-side.
Kohli has the experience and the skill. Now with the form, he is breaking records day in and day out. He is really the heart of India at the moment. The way he completed his first 30 runs in this Test, it just looks like he is from another planet. But it is his hard work that gives him the reward that he always desires. He scored 94 runs in the final session on the first day at Hyderabad with a strike rate of 80.34. It was like Virender Sehwag was at the crease, but at the same time he was batting like Rahul Dravid in that he hardly gave any chance to Bangladeshi bowlers.
He cuts, he pulls, he drives and still he tries to play all the shots along the ground. He started the second day on 111 and in just the third over of the day, he punished Taskin Ahmed on two consecutive balls when he bowled short and wide. This is what Virat Kohli is all about. He helps himself and he helps others.
Who can confirm the fact more than Ajinkya Rahane? It was important for Rahane to score runs in this match and with Kohli scoring all the runs in the third session on the first day, it just gave Rahane more time to build his innings. A captain is as good as their team, it is said. But in Virat Kohli’s case, it can be said that his team is as good as its captain.
Every narrative in cricket has a different hero, but in India in recent times, every Test series has only one hero – Virat Kohli. Timing is his wealth on the cricket field along with the footwork. The on-drive which he played against Taskin Ahmed in the fifth over of the second day reminded many fans of Sachin Tendulkar.
His preparation before the match and his performance on the field take his team to a new standard. He has two shots to play for every ball and that’s why he can play any bowler, ultimately putting the pressure on opposition captain. He makes it extremely hard for them to set the field and Mushfiqur Rahim experienced it today.
He just took 40 balls to go from 100 to 150. You may call that bad bowling from the Bangladeshi bowlers, but it was in fact some extraordinary batting from Virat Kohli. This proves that practice can make you reach perfection almost every time.
Virat Kohli is writing his own story day by day, and there is no doubt that, at his best, he is the best batsman since Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara in Test cricket.
There are two kinds of players who play in Test cricket – one who tries to stand guard for a long time and other who tries to score runs quickly. Virat Kohli is the ideal combination of both. That is one of the reasons why he has been scoring big hundreds recently. He comes down the wicket to attack the spinners or he plays late to cut the ball, as if he is teaching onlookers how to play the spin. He plays according to the field and always finds those gaps to score boundaries.
When Kohli started playing for India, he was all about aggression. But as he became more experienced, he added more skills to his game. He has added patience now, and this combination of patience and aggression is working for him with tremendous success.
He adds charm to Test cricket in India. He runs like a tiger – for himself and for others as well. He is already proving why he can be one of the greatest captains of all-time with the attitude that he has right now. He backs his players to perform better just as he backs himself to play the shots. It indicates his unique style of captaincy.
Kohli does not try to play big shots in Test cricket because he knows how to rotate the strike. When he was declared out while batting on 180, he did not go for a review straightway. He took the decision of going for a review after talking with Wriddhiman Saha first. That really was one of the examples of how he always puts his team first.
He is a firm believer of living in present. In the very next over after that review he played the drive to mid-off and scored a boundary which proved that in order to play a long innings, one mustn’t get caught up by what happened on the previous ball. He does not check the scoreboard often, like Virender Sehwag, and that’s why he is successful in playing long innings.
After lunch, he played three late cuts to third man in two overs. In the third over, he scored a boundary by playing a shot in the air to complete his fourth double century in Tests.
He batted like a boss today. He batted as if declaring that he is born to make records, not break records. He became the first batsman to score a double century in four successive Test series today.
It is now advisable for opponents to concentrate on other players because Kohli has his own plans of how to score a century. The chance was there for him to score a triple century but again, he put the team first and decided not to take the review after conferring with Saha and ended his innings on 204. This decision really speaks volumes of Virat Kohli’s character.
Virat Kohli’s innings ended with a disappointment today, but it just gives his fans another chance to wait for another special knock. As of now, he has learnt the art of converting centuries into double centuries. That day is not far when he will start converting double centuries into triple centuries.
It is not easy but Virat Kohli is born to complete impossible tasks.
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