Kohli, the best young Indian batsman

Written by: Aprameya .C
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 12:17 [IST]
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Young Kohli proves his class, again

For three months in Australia, Indian players and fans have endured a torrid time. Be it the Test debacle or the following tri-series. But amid all the dark clouds hanging over Team India, Virat Kohli's two centuries, one each in Tests and ODIs, have provided a major relief.

Also read: Brilliant Kohli gives India bonus-point win

A day after his Hobart brilliance, Kohli was rewarded by the selection committee with vice-captaincy role for the Asia Cup 2012 in Dhaka.

When the famed Indian batting line-up dished out failure after failure during the 0-4 Test mauling by Australia, Kohli was the reason for lifting the gloom with his maiden century in a losing cause.

The 23-year-old right-hander's 116 was the lone three-figure score by an Indian batsman during the four-Test series. And yet again on Tuesday, Kohli stood out, being the first Indian to get to a hundred in the tri-series.

These two knocks will be remembered by the Delhi lad for a very long time. By playing such innings, Kohli's stature on the international scene has gone up.

The other talented young batsmen like Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma have been completely swept aside by Kohli. Already, former cricketers have started to rate Kohli as the future of Indian cricket and also the future captain. They are definitely right, as Kohli has proved his credentials as a leader by steering India to Under-19 World Cup triumph.

Those who watched Kohli at the Bellerive Oval, will probably single out his knock as one of the best to be played in Australian conditions.

The way Kohli humiliated Sri Lanka's and one of the best bowlers in the world, Lasith Malinga, is the one to be talked about for long.

It would be interesting to seek Malinga's views on Kohli's demolition act on him. Probably, no batsman would have treated the right-handed paceman so disdainfully.

At the innings break, no one would have given India a chance to overhaul 320 for a bonus-point victory under 40 overs. It required them to score eight runs per over. The batsmen, till then, were out of form, collapsing match after match. But Kohli showed the world how it is done with a scintillating 86-ball 133 not out.

Kohli becomes even more important in Indian line-up when they are chasing. Six of his nine hundreds have helped India cross the line in stiff chases.

Kohli is not known to hide his emotions. The troubled tour of Australia did not spare him as well. He was reprimanded for making an obscene gesture to the heckling Sydney crowd during the Test.

And he let out his anger after completing his ton in Adelaide, which prompted former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar to slam his celebrations.

And after completing his maiden hundred in Adelaide, he defended his actions by saying he would give it back to anyone who sledge him on a cricket field. This time in Hobart, there were no show of emotions but a huge smile as he got to a hundred.

India's next assignment will be the Asia Cup in Bangaldesh in March and Kohli will be under the spotlight again. He could be up against Malinga again. And the battle will continue in the Indian Premier League.

Kohli's sensational knock could have left many in a daze, certainly the Sri Lankan cricketers. And it won't be the last and there are many more to come from his bat. Who knows, if India make the finals, Australian bowlers might at the receiving end.

On a tour where Team India has lost, Kohli is the one man who has kept on winning.


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