Christian Ryan
Writer based in Melbourne. Author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket

Behind the Kohli face

We don't yet know what Virat Kohli will be, but he might have played the off-drive of the summer

Christian Ryan

January 10, 2012

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Virat Kohli on missing out on a century, West Indies v India, 5th ODI, Kingston, Jamaica, June 16, 2011
Virat Kohli: like others before him, but not quite © Associated Press
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A cricketer walking the wire is hard to look away from, and for four days last week Virat Kohli was a sight for prying eyes. He'd batted with a time bomb in his pocket in Melbourne; would there, for Kohli, even be a Sydney? Rohit Sharma's name was mentioned. The Kohli question - not the main question, hardly a question at all, an idle side-curiosity - bounced around kitchen tables all New Year. Only when the umpires were winding towards the SCG gate did the answer reach me, via a friend's text message: "Sadly, yes."

Soon India were four down, the Test was an hour and a half young, and Kohli was out there batting on a Tuesday. After the vanishing blur of Melbourne it felt good to fix eyes on him properly. That beard - well kept, yet redolent of a ragamuffin fistful of Indians we'd come to know in Australia and to like: Bedi, Chandra, Gundappa, Kirmani, Shiv Yadav. The bowlers, Pattinson especially, gifted Kohli leg glances and hip flicks he could have played sleepwalking. Also, they appeared to be straining too wide of off stump. Some trap? To a dozen of his first two-dozen deliveries, Kohli played the leave-alone. Whenever a bowler struck straight and short he jumped with the rising ball and cuffed it safely down. On 13, there was an off-drive off Peter Siddle - maybe the off-drive of the summer - wristy, simple, a half step, then punch, not much backlift, his left elbow so pointy it moved Richie Benaud, 81, to ruminate on how he'd long admired the technical rock-solidness of this kid, 23.

Eleven minutes after that Kohli was out caught by the wicketkeeper.

He bats right-handed, nothing showy about his stance, a small bend at the knees. What else? We know no other Indian ever got to 1000 runs so fast, although that was in one-day cricket - might be meaningful, might not be. No one anywhere scored so many one-day runs last year. It could be that Kohli stands at the brink of magical things. Or it could be otherwise.

When he was 18, newspapers reported his father died one morning and Kohli said this - "I want to bat" - then carried his overnight 40 not out to 90, steered Delhi past follow-on strife against Karnataka, was adjudged caught-behind to a ball that grazed pad not bat, and after looking at the replay left the ground, three or four hours before his father was cremated.

We know, too, that he tweets. "We are humans not machines," he tweeted on the first day of this year.

It used to be the way, even in the Test match hothouse, that a cricketer could have a nothing-happening-here few days and hope that no one would peer too closely at the scorecard; that no one saw. But on Wednesday I saw Kohli, wearing orange-rimmed sunglasses on a cloudy afternoon, hobble seven ginger steps and bowl eight unthreatening overs wrong-footed, chest-on and from wide of the crease, a cross between a quarter-pace Max Walker and a defeated frog clinging to a plughole.

How runs must trickle for the endangered batsman, with a million eyes - or a billion, if you're Kohli - on you. Some crack up. Others fight it and narrowly avoid cracking up

Then he fumbled at cover when Clarke was on 170.

Later he raised his left middle finger at some hecklers over the boundary who said things about his mum and sister.

On Thursday he made a fine diving save beside the midwicket fence when Clarke was on 319.

To bat is hardest. One mistake and you're out is the eternal gnawing tension in the psyche. Some weeks, the equation gets more gruelling: one mistake and you're out for the day, out of the team, out of the short-term sponsorship reckonings of the car company that helped pay for the loan on your recently purchased house. Still you are expected to size up the next ball - speed, height, length, line, deviation - with millimetric precision. The TVs-everywhere age twists the pressure near panic point. It's said a watched pot never boils and watched clock never turns; how runs must trickle for the endangered batsman, with a million eyes - or a billion, if you're Kohli - on you. Some crack up. Others fight it and narrowly avoid cracking up.

Garry Sobers used to walk to the middle with, he said, his head "overloaded with thinking because every game of cricket has its own personality, its own mood".

Zaheer Abbas would tell himself some mornings while waiting his turn to go in, "Come on, Zed, the records show you are one of Pakistan's most successful batsmen."

Greg Chappell, on dark duck days, would be thinking, inside, "Come on, bowl so I can score."

Kohli is no Sobers, Zaheer or Chappell. He's Kohli - and what that is isn't clear. Maybe Rohit Sharma's time is coming. But we'll always have that off-drive off Siddle. In the second innings, on Friday, Kohli hooked a four, drove another four and played the leave-alone a dozen times in 23 balls.

A trap, that confirmed it. Next ball, he - but I can't say for sure that I saw.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and, most recently Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

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Posted by RogerC on (January 12, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Kohli will be the next captain of India. He will stay for a long time in international arena. He has the skill and the personality for this.

Posted by usernames on (January 12, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

Reading the comments, one would somehow believe that Kohli is useless. Believe it or not, a cricketer -- unless he is Sachin -- takes some time to mature and perform on the international level. Kohli has it in him; he needs to be given a fair run and the confidence. Every match he plays nowadays is like his last. His frame of mind would be horribly negative right now if he were to read some of the comments. The kid is very, very good and will get even better in 3-4 years. Rahane, Rohit, Mukund, Kohli, Raina, Tiwary *are* are future of Indian batting and from these few, you will see some of the best batsmen of the next generation. It is though common to downplay any youngster, especially when he's from India. :)

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

I enjoyed this well written article. I also agree with its main premise that the verdict on Kohli is sometime in the future. To all the hysterical comments of either he being the next Tendulakar or he is the "funniest thing" in test cricket, why not let his performance make a statement. He is all of 6 tests old and even our great demi-god Sachin scored his first International century after two years of playing international cricket.

Posted by er.Vaibhav on (January 12, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

@Rumy1 temperament and patience ok kohli lacks them...but skill,technique and class no you got that wrong he is a class act and plays complete copy book shots with everything right from eyes on the ball to follow through.. @akash shrivastava more of funny thing seems to be that you still expect vvs and dravid to continue for 2-3 yrs. mate have you forgotten this is cricket not a indian govt. job

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Kohli? In Test Match... This is one of the funniest thing I heard so far. Other funniest things were like "We got Raina as replacement of Dada" :)

Well, these young guns like Raina, Kohli and Rohit are good in T-20 and ODI only. However, once VVS and Dravid retire (I believe that both can play at least 2-3 years without any issue and can contribute as well), these "young-guns" will automatically get chance to play but I also doubt that at that time we may not win a match in Indian itself. I did not include Sachin as he will not retire until he scored his 100th Century and then don't think about his 150th century.

Posted by Rumy1 on (January 11, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

Kohli may be good in shorter versions but for Tests one needs superlative technique, temperament, patience, skills and class. Kohli has none. He is in the same mould as Raina or Yuvraj, Rahane or Mukund. All thes eguys look superstars in ODIS and T20s but look so ordinary in the real thing-Tests. All these guys have already been sorted out by international top class bowlers for their poor technique and shortcomings. Top level international bowlers will make lives of these lesser mortals hell if they are played at Test level. Selectors should know that shortcomings and technical flaws of such batsmen are sliced and diced on computers by opposition teams and bowlers and are targeted easily for their quick dismissals. I would save these young folks who have known shortcomings against genuine pace, bounce and swing for ODIs and T20s. Ashwin falls insame mould. He has already been sorted out by West Indies and Aussies batsmen by say likes of Clarke, hussey, Ponting, bravo, chanderpaul, et

Posted by er.Vaibhav on (January 11, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

@big_al_81 real problem is that you guys can never digest that any young indian cricketer is worth of any attention...lets have a column of any player of your country and you will be happy...let me tell you what he has such a young age this guy kohli has became second highest and highest odi run scorer in consecutive years,he acheived 2nd rank in odi,and became the fastest indian to score one thousand what else do you expect from an young cricketer to break sachin and bradman's records in his first year...then sorry mate you have to bring an alien or something for that.

Posted by big_al_81 on (January 11, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

Not really sure what one player has done to deserve such a lots of column inches. Nothing in tests as far as I can see. There are plenty of more promising players around who get nothing written about them - it's probably a blessing in disguise. Not clear what the point of the article actually is by the end of it...

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (January 11, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

You know what? Take out Dravid and Laxman and put Kohli at number 3; he would score 30,40 and 50....Take out Tendulkar too and let him feel what he felt when playing against Australia and New Zealand at home last time and South Africa and England away..Kohli would score a hundred at least every three tests whatever and wherever the opposition is...He is not able come to his elements when these seniors are around but it is not their mistake; it is his flaw.

Posted by er.Vaibhav on (January 11, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

kohli is india's future...he is not playing well alright but tell me who is ???he deserves more chances in place of seniors...those who are predicting him as an average cricketer should remind themself that no average cricketer scores second highest and highest runs in a year irrespective of version of the game...rohit sharma is also a very good talent but no one shuld forget that he also had very bad phase of carrier he was not even close to success which kohli had so if rohit can make such a good come back then kohli will also do the same definitely...all the best to both of them

Posted by dravidgood on (January 11, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Good hearted writeup that. I have sympathies for Kohli for the troubled times he has seen like I have for Yuvi for a troubled childhood. But they need to understand that they need to quickly get matured and channelise their anger/grief to such a wonderful opportunity of serving the motherland. They must think better and apply themselves better. Agreed, it is easier much said than done, but the point remains. All they need is some good advice and mentoring and who better than Rahul can they turn to. So kids, shed ur egoes and get under the umbrella of the analytical and erudie Rahul. Murli Karthik knows how good a counsellor he is and one fine day in long history Sehwag called him a psychiatrist for younger cricketers, that was when he did not have the false airs Veeru ofcourse. So plz take help and not repent later for a wasted career...

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (January 11, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Kohli definitely seems to have a healthier spirit of competiveness than his other Indian colleagues. He wants the best for himself and is upset when he doesn't get it. That's refreshing because there's no room for complacency to hide behind records or reputation. The hunger to achieve is a MUST for Indian cricket. I would think that Rohit, Kohli and Raina - all 3 in the Indian team would make it stronger.

Posted by crossbathoick on (January 11, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

Enjoyed reading the article and the analysis of Kohli and Sharma by Joyofweb which was spot on, and Naeem Khan whose comments were refreshing from a Pakistani fan. Funnily after having seen a lot of Kohli I still do not know if he will succeed or just turn out to be an average cricketer a ala Mohd Kaif. Rohit on the other hand has all the ability, but how translates that into success at the top level will be interesting to watch. Perth is not the ideal venue for him to make his debut though! Rohit should have played from the first test but now that he lost out to Kohli the team management should stick with the same team until Adelaide where Rohit should defenitely play in place of Laxman (regardless of how much he scores in Perth) just for the experience.

Posted by kurups on (January 11, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Our hopeless selectors might adopt a knee jerk reaction of replacing Kohli...i would not be surprised.. Kohli should be given more and enough time in tests. he is a class act and as jkaussie well commented. Dhoni may be good in t20 & odi..never never in tests as batsman or captain!!rohit sharma should be in the looks like the selectors will pick him when he is 40, give him a test in the next tour in Perth or somewhere and throw him out.

Posted by Natx on (January 11, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

@joyofweb - There are other folks on dravid mould like pujara or badrinath. Kohli is not that person. He is slowly getting into the mould of Yuvraj with all these unnecessary stuff with crowd and stuff. I agree with what @spinkingKK said. Spot on. Gambhir has to go after this series and Mukund is the guy to bet on. India wasted Wasim Jaffer who is lot better than Gambhir. Gambhir can't play on swing or bouncy tracks. The day he got 80 the pitch eased out and even Ashwin hit a 60. I bet Gambhir won't cross 20-30 if he gets into the playing 11. Instead they can try Rahane who can at least hit a quick 50 in one of the four innings left. Similarly Dhoni has to retire from test cricket after this series. His batting is not test match worthy and captaincy is a gamble. It could go either north on his day (by luck) or fastlane south as has been for the last 6-7 tests outside India. They could pass the WK role to Dinesh Karthik who did a decent job in England during 2007 series.

Posted by jkaussie on (January 11, 2012, 1:29 GMT)

I think Indias way forward is to keep going with the youngsters. It may be some short term pain for some long term gain, and perhaps it is too much for a team to carry Sehwag, Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar in the one XI. Two of them to show the way to the up'n comers could be a way to go. When thinking of Kohli he reminds me of Ian Bell - showed so much promise but couldn't consistently put it together until one series it clicked. Bell now knows that he can succeed at the highest level - I think Kohli could be in the same boat.

Posted by RaviNarla on (January 10, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

Kohli is more assured player than any of the cricketers of his age. All he has to do is forget about what is happening around and concentrate on batting alone. It is easier said than done. But that is what is required. Like Sastri and Manjerekar said, give a long rope to the youngsters for the future is with them.

Posted by indianpunter on (January 10, 2012, 23:22 GMT)

Agree with moBlue. What's the point here, mr Ryan?

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 22:38 GMT)

India, do not sideline this kid . Two failed test matches do not make him a failure. I am a Pakistani and already a Kohli fan. This kid will do well. Give him as many chances as it takes. He is a class act. Good luck Virat Kohli from a Pakistani fan. Take my word, you will be one of the greater Indian players in time. Keep your heads up and don't let anything get you down.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (January 10, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

Seriously? going gaga over one off drive and a pull?! I think Ashwin played a lot more shots with more consistency in the last two games. Everyone calls him a "great talented youngster" (especially Akram), but he is yet to prove it at this level. Maybe he should be given more chances, but probably not anymore in this series. There are many others who are perhaps as eligible as Kohli for chances. I feel bad for Rohit, who will now come in place of Kohli, and if he fails in his first attempt, they'll say he is no better either. Rohit is a liability on the field though...he's got his own problems. Let's not go gaga over someone that hasn't proved their worth consistently, and let's not cloud our judgement in one format vs another...horses for the courses, remember? I remember the journalists making a big deal out of Sadagopan Ramesh when he battered Pakistan all over the park in India...and he went to Australia only to never be heard of again!

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

what i think s he s an good cricketr with gifted talent n yes of course he s aggressive which s good too see by an indian player. he has proved himself in odi n t20 n definitely wil show up as test batsmen n will be the future of indian team. lets support our nations talent.. n good work by author

Posted by spinkingKK on (January 10, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

From what I saw so far, Kohli is a very good batsman. He just needs a bit more time to learn how to consoildate on 15 or 20's. Having said that, I beleive India should drop him for Perth and bring in Rohit Sharma. Only because, I don't want VVS to be dropped for this important encounter. If any of the batsmen fails again in Perth, Kohli should come back for Adelaide where the pitch will be a lot flatter. Even if everyone performed well in perth, Kohli should be in the mix of things. Kohli, Rohit, Raina, Pujara, Mukund are india's future. I hope the selectors show faith in Mukund again and give him another long run in test cricket. He looked very very good in England and was dropped when he was set to make a big score.

Posted by joyofweb on (January 10, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

Kohli vs Sharma. I think Sharma is the more talented batsman between them. Sharma is gifted and can put many good balls away in style when compared to Kohli. Kohli is good at the waiting game and can put bad balls away but he is not naturally talented as Sharma against very good bowling. But the main difference between the two is that Kohli exactly knows his strenghts and plays the percentage game and tries to wait out the good balls. Sharma knows he can belt the good bowling and trie little too often and gets out. Kohli is more efficient and plays within his strengths, Sharma knows he can be flamboyant and tries to do many things and finds more ways to fail. Sometimes Talent can be bad. If you want someone to bat for your life between the two, its Kohli (just like its Dravid and not Tendulkar:) Thats a debate in itself)

Posted by ivorycinnamon on (January 10, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

A good article, insightful and balanced. Kohli's an obvious talent and must be persevered with; also, a brave, decisive youngster, taking the painful decision at 18 to bat on even when his dad had passed away. Good luck to him.

Posted by ved_mishra on (January 10, 2012, 20:45 GMT)

A very nice and balanced article. Good work Ryan! And I strongly believe it is Rohit AND Kohli who should be in the team. The way India is performing, they need players with right attitude and confidence. Looks like our big legends are running short of confidence and aggression (except Sachin who looks in supreme touch).

Posted by wc1992 on (January 10, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

who is kohli... what waste of time

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 10, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

Is this satire or admiration or just confused ramblings? Kohli is simply the next generation of Indian batting. Brash and confident, good at ball striking in T20 and ODIs but suspect in test matches.

Posted by KashifMuneer on (January 10, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

As a cricketer I admire Kohli and I think that he is immensly talented and could be one of the greats. As I person I have my reservations as I have seen him swear while fielding and batting. Not that others don't swear but Kohli has to be one of the most foul mouthed person on the ground that I have seen. I just hope that he becomes more cool and likable like Sachin, Dravid etc. At the end of the day I realise that its the performance that matters and I believe he will produce many wonderful innings for India but he won't be loved by the world if he doesn't change his attitude.

Posted by AttaGirl on (January 10, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Kohli is a good technical player but needs to work on his temperament. He tends to get himself bogged down by the situation and often finds himself unable to score freely.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

I don't agree anything when it comes to modesty and discipline .Middle finger thing and fighting with crowd cannot be tolerated by any player at any time .Amernath was right in fighting with his captain but this cannot be allowed and was sent back to india from england. Ganguli's fighting with Greg chappel should not have been allowed and Ganguli shold have been disciplined

Kohli must be thrown out of the team immediately

Posted by inswing on (January 10, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

Good balanced article. Kohli has shown great potential, and deserves more chances. Agree with Manjrekar that VVS should be dropped, not Kohli, to make way for Rohit.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

there is a difference between AGGRESSION and useless anger or ARROGANCE...... what sourav ganguly had was right aggression which is a positive for any player but what kohli has is a useless anger which he often exhausts on the field and such player inspite of having great talent don't do much justice to their career coz they are warm headed........ i still appreciate players like SURESH RAINA who is in the same age group of ROHIT AND KOHLI but has got much balanced and improved temperament which will take him long inspite of being less privileged than kohli and rohit as far as talent is concerned......... RAINA has never shown useless anger just to take the limelight rather he shows a balanced character in the field ....... if kohli continues this way he will soon start getting attracted towards things other than cricket and may lose focus...... i dun think him a future captain with such arrogant and adamant behavior .....

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (January 10, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

OMG, I didn't know this story about Kohli, that Kohli is so tough - continued at the tender age of 18 when his dear father passed away? What determination at that young age! Hats off to Kohli. Thanks to the author from telling us this story about Kohli.

Posted by Romenevans on (January 10, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

@ - Shantanu Dsgupta: Dreaming Bro? Kholi Already scored an ODI 100 in England last summer. He is a terrific ODI player both home and away. It just he needs to work on his Test batting skills, and 100000% sure he'll work on that and will serve india for long period of time. Its all about attitude and hunger for success, you can see both in him. He is just 23 years old Kid for Christ sake and 2011 highest runs scorer in ODIS in the world.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

Give kholi a full run and iam sure he would prove his capabilities.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

Kohli needs to grow a back bone, he like Raina, and all the other young Indian batsmen need to learn how to cope when life gets difficult at the crease, learn how to roll their sleeves up and refuse to give their wickets away. They have two true cricketing legends in Dravid and Tendulkar to learn this from however it seems that as soon as the pressure mounts all they want to do is to get back on the plane to play on the flat Indian wickets and to have their massive egos massaged scoring countless runs in one day cricket. We saw it in England where as soon as life got tough they capitulated and now again in Australia its happening again. India's batting is under so much pressure because of their toothless bowling attack, what is Dhoni expected to do when his bowlers cannot bowl to any plans or sustain any kind of pressure on the opp batsmen. Problem is the BCCI don't care as long as India win the ODI series then the tour will be seen as a success and these problems won't be addressed

Posted by shajiwahab on (January 10, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

I think its about time we adopt the 'horses for courses' theory. Kohli may have had reasonable success in the shorter formats of the game but that doesnt prove he's techically suited to play Tests. By that logic, Rohit Sharma should have played right from the word go in the series going by his form in the last ODI series in Australia a few years ago and more recently against WI back home. I dare say this lay-off must have definitely dented his confidence and momentum. When we hear all this talk about specialists in ODI's and 20-20's why not have a team of only Test specialists?? Who says that the famous faces of Team India must play all 3 formats of the game? And why are some youngsters preferred over others? In my opinion its time the cricket bosses in India really sent a team overseas to WIN even if its a team without stars and favourites!!!

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

Brilliant piece!!! This applies to Rohit as well, albeit in a different sense..the batting and the talent are common.

Posted by cricket_ftw on (January 10, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

Give chance to these youngsters somehow to bat with sachin or dravid on the international scene... No point hiding them from the international matches and suddenly bringing them in and expecting miracles from them ... What happened to badrinath and pujara... they seemed to be a great prospect for indian cricket...

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

@kavitha. M.Amaranath is a selector now. So, by implication, you mean he is a joker. So, your quoting Amaranath is a joke? You want to take over the joker's role. No, dear, I am just joking.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

A good article, but about a much-hyped player. Followers of Indian cricket know that there are least a dozen players better and several dozen who are as good.

Posted by Kaze on (January 10, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

@Anil Babladi Before you worry about what Aus is doing look at where India is going, right down to the bottom of the test rankings. Imagine what will happen when the grandfathers go, will India be able to make 100 runs in any innings overseas.

Posted by DAHSUT on (January 10, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

the truth of the matter is that ndia still has not got any sort of replacement for dada,dhoni is now becoming a liability to the team with his constant flops.also the openers are not firing consistently this is putting a huge amount of pressure on sachin dravid and laxman.that is why they too are not being able to score can u have a captain with only 4/5 test centuries.i think we first need to replace dhoni and get in another good wkt bat like dinesh kartik into the test team

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

@Anil Babladi. Very well written post. And, I share your sentiments. Christian Ryan seems to be unsure about his own judgement about Kohli. Let us give him the benefit of doubt. We have no doubt about Kohli. His test match success is just a matter of time. Many journalists seem to create an artificial dichotomy: Kohli OR Rohit. Thy are wrong. It is going to be Kohli AND Rohit. In the middle of the Indian batting order. In the middle of many pitches. Many diverse pitches. All over the cricket playing nations. It is a matter of time. We have to give the boy space and time.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

Well, I have my own take on Kohli. Yes, he had success batting in ODI's, at least statistics say so, he is good fielder and his batting technique says so. Though, I am not really impressed. In 2 + years, I am yet to see an innings where he turned around things in difficult conditions or occasions, where such contributions count (he lost a great opportunity in the last test match against WI and in world cup final, where got 35), he had couple of half centuries in last tour of SA, but none took India to a win. Most of his statistical success can be attributed against teams, that didn't have good attacks or conditions really lovely for batting and even worse - on occasions, which won't count much

Posted by true.trini on (January 10, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

kohli needs more first class games...has to work on his TEMPERament. hopefully australian experience will only benefit him..

Posted by o-bomb on (January 10, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

I like reading this sort of article. By the end of this decade Kohli could be one of the great batsmen of his generation, or he could be just another forgotten name - we just don't know yet. He's certainly good to watch. Personally I think if he applies himself he'll have a good test career, but that could prove to be a big if. Whether he'll be great or not, we'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Surprisingly if he ends up scoring there won't be any great support for Kohli. Thats what these writers write these days. Consider clarke, micheal, a failure in batting bowling captaincy and a spoilt brat, all of a sudden is cynosure of all Oz media. He goes and dumps his girl friend and scores a 100 against a weakest NZ attack he becomes a hero. One series win and one triple hundred does not make him a HERO from all those Zeros, wake up Ryan and smell the coffee. The correct question to worry about is can Oz sustain this momentum at home against better pace attacks. I dare you give a pacy wicket against Steyn. Another 21 for 9 and 22 all out will be on cards. As far as kohli goes, he has it in him to come from that day when his dad passed away to become the world beater. He will be better before this tour ends. Thats what he proved in England too.

Posted by nadu_1975 on (January 10, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

Dear Friends, it is ridiculous that you fail to observe that Mr Kohli, Rohit,Robin,etc are 4 20-20 generation. The only thing they know is to swing a bat regardless of the following the virtues of discipline,patience one needs to have for a test career. Just see the Eg of Mr Yuvraj Singh, its nearly 10+ years this guy had made his debut 4 India, still does not find a place in the team. I think BCCI should create a National Talent Manager in the lines of the Aussies to search for players who have an passion, discipline for playing the five day cricket. Scoring 1000s runs in ODI,20-20s mean nothing in a test environment. The more quickly we realise that these players do not belong here(Tests),the better it will be for the team.Bring in players like Wasim Jaffer,BAdrinath,MVijay,etc give them a free run for a season and analyse the results. I think we can discover more such talents in our domestic circuit, more talented then these Kohlis,Rohits etc.

Posted by LuvThyGame on (January 10, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

kohli is hungry for success.. he tasted it very young when he captained India to world cup in U19 .. rohit is the same character.. the competitive dynamic is very healthy and so i think they should both play the remaining two tests.. india needs success-hungry characters.. vvs has lost it completely.. dravid is nearly there..its a tough call but vvs has to go... rohit needs to play this series to have some experience ahead of the next one.. india is losing anyways, why not lose with youngsters? atleast gives them some valuable experience ? still remember rohit's 50 with sachin in the finals in Aus a few years ago...

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (January 10, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

ODIs and Tests are two completely different animals so all you Indian fans please stop making the comparison when talking about different teams. Just look at Eoin Morgan...most of us Eng fans are worried about his place in the test side. The only thing going for Morgan is that he's playing on a winning team and not ask to do a lot whereas Kohli has been put in difficult situations. Time will tell if the Kohlis and Rainas of the world will be anything but ODI wonders and Test failures.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

learn some manners from Dravid and see how to manage your attitude from Tendulkar. You're lucky to be in the same line-up as them!

Posted by HatsforBats on (January 10, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Kohli is a wonderful talent and he's just 23; I hope they stick with him to give him more experience playing different surfaces. There are so many young Indian talents; Sharma, Rahane, Tiwary, the young opener (or no.3, I can't remember his name, Pujara?, who played against Aus in India); I would love to see these young Indian talents do well in test cricket, hopefully they get their chance soon.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

brilliant article..kohli does have the capability amongst the greats..but has to focus more on the game except answering the crowd.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

gr8 article, well done Christian Ryan!

Posted by Faizan_Bahadur on (January 10, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

I think he needs to be given more chances...HE does not have a technical flaw like Suresh Raina or Yuvraj had...I think its just a matter of time before he will prove that he belongs there..And I think Kohli and Rohit Sharma are both future of Indian test team.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

i think kohli would be baffled by the attention on him both for his performance & non-performance. He himself siad that -wherever he goes people query abt his comeptition with rohit sharma which he promptly denied adding that he firmly believed both would be serving indian cricket in a long run. Very true. both r extremely talented with rohit being slightly aggresive of the two who likes to take the fight to the oppostion. I think india would cherish both these younsters in coming years.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

kohli must play once he click the nobody can stop him, out of seven batsman only tendulkar is doing well than why drop kohli

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

Virat kohli does not even know the real meaning of test cricket and people want to make him captain.but he is a fantastic odi batsman one of the best in the world but once his odi forn dips he will be rattled and he won't have anything to fall back on . So I think he needs to work very hard on his test career bcoz that's what we all remember . I don't want him to be another yuvraj or raina bcoz he is more talented than them.

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 10, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

talented batsman, no doubt. it was always going to be very tough for him to succeed down under and straight away. i admire his confidence but his temperament is pretty ordinary, if he fixes that he should be the next captain, sooner, rather than later.

Posted by krickrazy on (January 10, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

So how much were you paid by the Kohli management team to write this...considering he couldnt even perform against a lowly west indies in west indies and looks like a cat on a hot-tinned roof in aus.he has already missed the bus to become great considering the likes of sachin, ganguly,dravid, laxman and sehwag had already performed overseas at his age and he cant do it for the next three yrs since we dont play overseas for the next two yrs.

Posted by ishrat1971 on (January 10, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

The problem with most youngsters from the subcontinent is that they are bred on T20 and flat dusty pitches where they make tons of runs and even miss hits that reach the boundary are applauded. Then they travel to Australia England SA where the bounce pace and swing does them in. I hope for the sake of Kohli and other younger batters from INd, Pak and SL that the boards make bouncier pitches and are not obsessed with batters hitting sixes but wit them constructing an innings. Also with such types of pitches our faster bowlers will get more value for their spells and will not have stress fractures.

Posted by Romenevans on (January 10, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

if i was the selector, i'd keep playing Kohli, because he has the talent, its just he needs more time and experience for the conditions and he will become a good batsmen. If you notice, he was out LBW 3 times playing his favorite on drive or flick shot, which is his strength, but he missed on them because of different conditions. Here in India its a cakewalk for him, but there in Australia, ball come on the bat with more pace and kind of skids on the pads which he missed. I'm sure he'll learn a lot from this experience and he'll come out good. There is no shortage of talent for sure. Keep playing Kohli with your bat, but Not with your fingers please.

Posted by moBlue on (January 10, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

why the focus on kohli? first of all, he is 23. do you remember being 23, mr. ryan? why pile the pressure on? damn him with faint praise? i am sure he appreciated that! secondly, the dude is simply a ODI player, yet! he is not a talented test cricketer - yet! there is something absurd about this article, and its fetishistic obsession with an also-ran young inexperienced cricketer... if you showed empathy, i might have felt otherwise!

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

Whoa! Brilliant article man!

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (January 10, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

Kohli needs more time to prove himself(About 10 continuous test matches) or else he will be remembered only for one cover drive. We want to see him scoring more runs and creating a place for himself.

Posted by SouthPaw on (January 10, 2012, 5:36 GMT)

Nice! I think that India should blood all the juniors including Virat and Rohit. Even with the seniors like Sehwag, SRT, RD & VVS, they are losing anyway, won't make much of a difference!

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

What's with these players-Yuvraj,Raina,Kohli,Watson and maybe even Dhoni to be soooo good in one-dayers,and be sooo horrible in tests even it is particularly easier in terms on strike rates.This should be the team for 3rd test: 1.Gambhir 2.Sehwag 3.Dravid 4.Tendulkar 5.R Sharma 6.MS Dhoni 7.R Ashwin 8.I Pathan 9.Zaheer Khan 10 Ishant Sharma 11.Umesh Yadav(But i'm sure the selectors wont pick that but this- 1.gambhir 2.sehwag 3.dravid 4.tendulkar 5.laxman 6.Kohli/R sharma 7.Dhoni 8.Ashwin 9.Z Khan 10.I Sharma 11.Umesh Yadav.............M Amarnath is right.............the selectors are a bunch of jokers..........!!!

Posted by unregisteredalien on (January 10, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

One of your best Christian! I can't believe how much more I like Kohli now!

Posted by usernames on (January 10, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

What an article. He sure is the future of our cricket and needs to be persisted with. He also needs to learn some manners though. Beautiful writing, Christian.

Posted by The_big_j on (January 10, 2012, 4:16 GMT)

As I anticipated, this series has fully exposed India and their inability to play outside the sub-continent flat tracks. Virat Kohli is at best ordinary just like the other senior batsmen around him on a pitch that has a little bit for the bowlers.

Posted by .Raina on (January 10, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

Christian, Thanks for reminding us of the very different faces of Kohli. He has always been full of talent (& attitude) since he first burst on the scene as the captain of IND U-19s. Unfortunately he lost his father when probably he needed him the most. Early success and loads of financial benefits with it had pumped up his ego further for the last few years; and he had started forgetting that all that had come because of his dedication and sincerity towards cricket during his teen days. He again seems to be working back on his cricket, but his attitude continues to be rough. As any good sports person, he needs to keep on working on his game, keep on improving, and keep his attitude under control. Otherwise, all this talent will be wasted and he will be forgotten like so many before him (remember Kambli!!!). Hopefully their is a senior looking over him.....

Posted by forcricket on (January 10, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

Excellent article Ryan. Hopeful that he plays in remaining test matches.

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Christian RyanClose
Christian Ryan Christian Ryan lives in Melbourne, writes and edits, was once the editor of The Monthly magazine and Wisden Australia, and now bowls low-grade, high-bouncing legbreaks with renewed zeal in recognition of Stuart MacGill's retirement and the selection opportunities this presents. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

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