February 4, 2014

A force called Kohli

He's in inexorable form, but his best is still ahead of him, and that is a forbidding thought for the bowlers he comes up against
91

"The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
- Anaïs Nin

When I consider this wonderful insight from the great American author, I wonder about what it takes to fulfil one's own "greatness", to blossom, bringing alive the very depths of one's soul. When I read Nin again and she says, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage", I start to understand what can truly take us forward, beyond the ordinary, into the realm of greatness.

India are a vast energy, a thriving modern-day eruption. They are forcing their will on the world, in particular on the cricket world. Sachin Tendulkar did it for nearly two and half decades with a keen eye and trusty blade, transfixing all of us with his serenity and his strokes. He was the king of great. Around him emerged more versions of it - Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, for example. Yet it was Sachin who spread the word loud and afar.

And with his departure rises Virat Kohli. In some ways this young giant is a combination of all those three, learning a bit from them all to shape his own unique creation. He is the next chosen one. He exudes the intensity of Rahul, the audacity of Virender, and the extraordinary range of Sachin. That doesn't make him better, simply sui generis, his own unique kind.

In many ways, he follows the essence of life: loving what he does and doing what he loves, and learning all he can, often at a rapid pace. Kohli has gone from pupil to teacher quickly, and his next level is to become a master. That he will achieve. It's in his eyes.

I watched this young 19-year-old when he joined Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008, for the inaugural IPL. He was bursting to impress. Often he fell victim to his own seduction, his growing, glowing image, mixed in with his confusion about who to bat and be like, as he had so many choices. I often encouraged him to simply play straighter, be wiser in shot selection, put the odds more in his favour. Alas, he was too young, and rather than listen to a crusty old stager from god knows where, he was intent on being like the heroes of the day and indulging in the new rage of sending the ball into orbit.

Over time, he found that his own style and his stamp and signature were more than enough for him to hold his own. His ownership of the No. 3 position in the Indian one-day team has secured his legacy long term; now he just needs to go to the well day in and day out, to cement it.

His badge is one of courage. He is fiercely focused. He is often fiery and emotional, possibly a product of his upbringing in Delhi. Yes, a fire burns within, sometimes wildly. His aggressive streetfighting qualities are worn on his sleeve. He looks for a fight. He singles out opposition for face-to-face interrogation; he even confronts officials.

He will need to learn rapidly that to be a true leader and role model to millions all over the globe, the ugly stuff needs to be tamed, even put away, while retaining the right to find that balance of challenge and the correct conduct. It's an important lesson, one Sachin and Rahul will have taught him, yet his own restlessness is still dominant. Someone needs to guide him on this vital code.

At present he is a beacon in this rebuilding team, while some of those around him who have come in to fill the void left by the big three struggle to cope. Already he is the leader of the batting line-up, with just 22 Tests to his name, and so a huge responsibility beckons.

Kohli's audacity is shameless. He is bold and beautiful in his shot selection and his style. When in the mood he can carve anyone apart, just as Sehwag did when awoken. Kohli will need to be reminded of Sehwag, that temporary loss of form that came in patches and grew to become one patch at the end. He needs to keep working the engine and stoking the fire. He will, without question.

Not unsurprisingly, Kohli will have learned mostly from Sachin, and even if it isn't so obvious, it's slowly becoming clearer. His stance is more closed than Sachin's, resulting in the leg-side stroke played around the pad, yet it is straightening year by year. By the time he reaches full throttle in a couple of years he will be perfectly aligned, as the master was. His last-second tap of the bat as the bowler gathers is such a classic and vital element from the Sachin book. This last tap sends a spark of electricity through his body and his eyes, then feet, then through his flowing vortex sword, all coming alive as one. Every ball is treated with puissance, a mighty force.

Kohli's audacity is shameless. He is bold and beautiful in his shot selection and his style. When in the mood he can carve anyone apart, just as Sehwag did when awoken

Kohli is forming an unprecedented record in one-dayers for scoring hundreds. The quest to do so in Test cricket is at hand. He has five so far in 37 innings, and should rightly correct that ratio, to one every six innings at least, as time unfolds. Natural, too, will be the desire to score double-hundreds, big daddies as they have become known. His positioning at four will be the ideal stage in which to show a prowess even Sachin would be proud of.

Helping his cause will be the indestructible Cheteshwar Pujara. They are the same age and have the same hunger to carry India as Dravid and Tendulkar did. They will bat together, carrying each other in the vein of the finest combos in the game. Pujara doesn't have the same range of strokes as Kohli, yet he has a vast reservoir of concentration and resolve. Kohli will pass his final exam, that of scoring the huge scores, by watching his more studious partner. This will complete his finishing-school education. From there, Kohli will master the world.

How will New Zealand dismiss these two in the coming weeks? Higher energy. They have to hit the Indian top order with absolute precision, pace, swing and accuracy, on or just outside stump. They must bowl one side of the wicket, use two lengths - the shoulder-high bouncer with muscle, and the one that hits the top of off stump with pump.

Muscle and pump. Anything else will be dispatched or manipulated. And they will need patience from session to session. Dismissing either Pujara or Kohli in under two hours' batting is a dagger in India's heart. If it doesn't come early on, the energy must not drop. This, in essence, is how you win Test matches.

Richard Hadlee did it with support from honest, resilient lieutenants and a surface with enough juice. He found his arousal level and paced it through the day. His last spell of the day could be just as telling and exacting as his first. This is the mentality Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Corey Anderson will need to execute in the two Tests ahead. If they don't, then they'd better learn fast.

It will be a fascinating series. Sadly, just as it hots up it will be over. It's a waste. Another example of wayward administration, but let's not go there. Instead, let's go to the Tests looking to experience a new breed of excellence: Kohli and Pujara against Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.

Whoever scores the most hundreds between the four will hold the upper hand, for they will deny and dent the ability of the opposition's attack to clear out both innings to win. Whichever pair fails to notch the big scores or partnerships will allow the opposition the chance to penetrate the lesser mortals who surround these elite.

All four are in mesmeric form. It won't help the sleep patterns of the bowlers opposing them. Yet I am predicting the locals will sleep better in their own beds. For India the nightmare might just continue.

But then again there is that maturing force called Virat Kohli.

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahul_78 on February 4, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Bravo Martin. As always flawless and poetic writing. Pleasure to read. However I am going a step forward and I might risk the eire of others for it but one gets the feeling that you can see more then a shade of King Richards in Kohli. He has the aura, the swagger and the audacity in the middle when facing against the best. Tendulkar was a master of other elk. The young Sachin at Kohli's age oozed class and was super consistent but the walk and the swagger of the king was missing. Kohli has that look in his eyes, he is cocky but when he is at the creeze you know he means business.I think we are just about on the verge of seeing another fine bating era of Indian cricket in Kohli, Pujara and Rohit. They are young and they will learn. If Kholi doesnt fall prey to the other perils that comes in the way of Indian super stars may be he can emulate the King in his own way. However Indian cricket will be grateful if Virat ends up half as good as The King by the end of his career.

  • on February 4, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    Over the last 2 years Virat Kohli has truly become the mainstay of the Indian batting line up, he has been extremely consistent and matured as a cricketer. Undoubtedly he is the next big thing in Indian cricket and can fill the void left by Sachin Tendulkar. Scoring 18 ODI Hundreds by the age of 25 is phenomenal and now we only expect him to go from strength to strength as India travel to England later this year and then Australia. Virat often reminds me of a young and exuberant Ricky Ponting who had a wide range of strokes and could dominate bowling on different conditions, and was always prepared to take the short-pitched stuff head on. Virat is in a league of his own and beautifully adapts his game in all three formats of the game. He is the future of India's batting

  • alesana85 on February 4, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    Well written Martin, absolutely correct on Virat Kohli he is the real deal and future leader of Indian cricket. The stats he has accumulated so far in his career are just phenomenal & he is not even at the halfway point in his career. He has all the shots & is comfortable playing in foreign conditions, also seems to be unfazed by the short ball. Also agree with some of the comments on Pujara, cannot believe he did not play in the ODI series. If India can find some accurate & consistent seamers workhorses like Srinath or Zaheer Khan will do, sharpen up their fielding, with the natural talent they already possess in the batting & spin bowling departments could be one of the greatest cricketing teams of all time.

  • DingDong420 on February 7, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    Batting looking good in the hands of Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, & Rahane and better for all the overseas exposure this year and next. Openers need to be much more consistent

    We need to give bowlers such as Aaron, Yadav, Pandey, Ojha in the middle and give them a chance.

    Don't know much about Rishi Dhawan but if he has raw talent then get him in to balance the team. I cant see any of this happening whilst Dhoni is captain

  • on February 6, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    awesome article sir...he is simply the best for sure in present time but its too early atleast from my point of view to compare him from sachin ,dravid sehwag etc. what makes him special is his hunger to perform ,he is never satisfied ..he is a great player and hope future is great.

  • on February 6, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    "This last tap sends a spark of electricity through his body and his eyes, then feet, then through his flowing vortex sword, all coming alive as one. Every ball is treated with puissance, a mighty force. "

    Is this a former cricketer writing or an accomplished author?! Such mastery over the language! Very impressive.

    And I'm glad you noticed the last tap of his bat as the bowler approaches, it's something the other batsmen lack, a stamp of authority and purpose over the impending delivery.

  • on February 6, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    "He is often fiery and emotional, possibly a product of his upbringing in Delhi."

    Dang Martin, you know a lot more about Indian culture than I would've expected. Very heartening.

    Good article!

  • on February 6, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    well written Martin.Nice article.

  • denkiller on February 5, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Virat is best cricket player india ever had. He will break sachin's all records

  • on February 5, 2014, 17:53 GMT

    Love this article as i love to watch Virat Kohli...i am a Pakistani but he is my favorite batsman.....my gut feelings ...he will surpass sachin in every aspect.....

  • Rahul_78 on February 4, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Bravo Martin. As always flawless and poetic writing. Pleasure to read. However I am going a step forward and I might risk the eire of others for it but one gets the feeling that you can see more then a shade of King Richards in Kohli. He has the aura, the swagger and the audacity in the middle when facing against the best. Tendulkar was a master of other elk. The young Sachin at Kohli's age oozed class and was super consistent but the walk and the swagger of the king was missing. Kohli has that look in his eyes, he is cocky but when he is at the creeze you know he means business.I think we are just about on the verge of seeing another fine bating era of Indian cricket in Kohli, Pujara and Rohit. They are young and they will learn. If Kholi doesnt fall prey to the other perils that comes in the way of Indian super stars may be he can emulate the King in his own way. However Indian cricket will be grateful if Virat ends up half as good as The King by the end of his career.

  • on February 4, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    Over the last 2 years Virat Kohli has truly become the mainstay of the Indian batting line up, he has been extremely consistent and matured as a cricketer. Undoubtedly he is the next big thing in Indian cricket and can fill the void left by Sachin Tendulkar. Scoring 18 ODI Hundreds by the age of 25 is phenomenal and now we only expect him to go from strength to strength as India travel to England later this year and then Australia. Virat often reminds me of a young and exuberant Ricky Ponting who had a wide range of strokes and could dominate bowling on different conditions, and was always prepared to take the short-pitched stuff head on. Virat is in a league of his own and beautifully adapts his game in all three formats of the game. He is the future of India's batting

  • alesana85 on February 4, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    Well written Martin, absolutely correct on Virat Kohli he is the real deal and future leader of Indian cricket. The stats he has accumulated so far in his career are just phenomenal & he is not even at the halfway point in his career. He has all the shots & is comfortable playing in foreign conditions, also seems to be unfazed by the short ball. Also agree with some of the comments on Pujara, cannot believe he did not play in the ODI series. If India can find some accurate & consistent seamers workhorses like Srinath or Zaheer Khan will do, sharpen up their fielding, with the natural talent they already possess in the batting & spin bowling departments could be one of the greatest cricketing teams of all time.

  • DingDong420 on February 7, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    Batting looking good in the hands of Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, & Rahane and better for all the overseas exposure this year and next. Openers need to be much more consistent

    We need to give bowlers such as Aaron, Yadav, Pandey, Ojha in the middle and give them a chance.

    Don't know much about Rishi Dhawan but if he has raw talent then get him in to balance the team. I cant see any of this happening whilst Dhoni is captain

  • on February 6, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    awesome article sir...he is simply the best for sure in present time but its too early atleast from my point of view to compare him from sachin ,dravid sehwag etc. what makes him special is his hunger to perform ,he is never satisfied ..he is a great player and hope future is great.

  • on February 6, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    "This last tap sends a spark of electricity through his body and his eyes, then feet, then through his flowing vortex sword, all coming alive as one. Every ball is treated with puissance, a mighty force. "

    Is this a former cricketer writing or an accomplished author?! Such mastery over the language! Very impressive.

    And I'm glad you noticed the last tap of his bat as the bowler approaches, it's something the other batsmen lack, a stamp of authority and purpose over the impending delivery.

  • on February 6, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    "He is often fiery and emotional, possibly a product of his upbringing in Delhi."

    Dang Martin, you know a lot more about Indian culture than I would've expected. Very heartening.

    Good article!

  • on February 6, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    well written Martin.Nice article.

  • denkiller on February 5, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    Virat is best cricket player india ever had. He will break sachin's all records

  • on February 5, 2014, 17:53 GMT

    Love this article as i love to watch Virat Kohli...i am a Pakistani but he is my favorite batsman.....my gut feelings ...he will surpass sachin in every aspect.....

  • on February 5, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    nice article.With all due respect, I do not agree with Crowe on one point. that is the range of Pujara is limited compared to Kohli. Pujara knows that his captain doesn't want him and ready to throw out given 1 bad performance. because Dhoni hates Pujara's guts as Pujara is his own man.

    I feel sorry for Pujara. Kohli was given chance early and been the blue eyed boy of Dhoni. reason is he is brat and dhonis likes such people. not people like Lakshman or dravid. Pujara has been denied his rightful opportunities for too long and finally Dhoni did not have a chance and had to give Pujara a try. Pujara knows he will get lesser chances than Kohli and has to eschew risky shots. he is a better batman than kohli anyday.

  • St0rmbringer on February 5, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    I have been waiting for someone to write a piece like this on kohli and that it happens to be my favorite NEW ZEALANDER, Martin Crowe, makes it so much better! I must add that KOHLI's swagger and confidence not just because he is from DELHI. Kohli is a product of the resurgent INDIA and a lot of the new Indian players have a new sense of self-confidence and self-worth that even Tendulkar and Dravid did not have. India is a world economic and military power Her realization of self-worth and taking a stand on issues are seen as brashness too. But India has what it t[vkto 'walk the and these young cricketers in the Indian side are not at all ashamed of being Indians and merely reflect the new . Having said that I DOUBT if Crowe's advice to new-Zealand's bowlers to[ power

  • on February 5, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    wow A very nice article by martin ........

  • nakihunter on February 5, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    Martin Crowe has forgotten VVS Laxman. The artistry, courage, tenacity and desire to win for the team were his hall marks! Ask the Australians & the South Africans what Laxman could do!

    This team also has Rohit Sharma and Rahane - one did wonders against the West Indies while the other promised more wonders the way he played against South Africa. Glimpses of Laxman were see the way Rahane played with the tail!

    The Kiwis have quality in Taylor & Williamson. MacCallum could sparkle at times but he is not consistent enough to be dependable. India also has Vijay & Dhawan. The batting certainly favours India's fortunes in this series.

    Yes the kiwi bowling has depth in the pace department. But do not write off India. If the pitches are green and juicy, India could turn the tables. Zaheer, Ishant, Shami & Kumar are every bit as good as the kiwi pacemen.

  • KingOwl on February 5, 2014, 1:36 GMT

    As a SL supporter, I must say that I am a huge fan of Kohli. I don't enjoy it one bit when Kohli makes runs against SL. But he is outstanding. SL has got some great young talents, but none with the attitude of Kohli. I don't agree with Crowe that Kohli needs to 'calm down' and be less aggressive. I think that is what makes the man and without that, he could become aimless.

  • basusri133b on February 5, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    Excellent article, with the prose of a modern day Neville Cardus ! I hope Virat reads this piece. There is much that he can profit from.

  • on February 4, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    Very well written. And kohli is a class act. But let's not get ahead of ourselves: (1) India is terrible outside India (2) comparing to Richards by some is blasphemous (3) pujara is nowhere even in the vicinity of kohli's class

  • Doullys_Cuzzie on February 4, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    Wow Kohli is probably the most talented and consistant batsmen India have produced since the Little Master, and that's saying alot with all the world class players they have had at their disposal over recent years, Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman, Dhoni not to be excluded. I agree that the best is yet to come from Kohli as he matures, and if any current cricketer can threaten Sachin's records he will be the one. Rohit and Pujara are also class acts on the rise. NZ will have to play extemely well to win 1 or 2 tests in this series, but they should back themselves on home turf and now they have found that winning feeling. Great work in ODI's Black Caps!

  • supacricfan on February 4, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    kohli is truly on his way to be a modern great..i would surely consider him a great in one day cricket already..he will surely take test cricket like a fish to the water but the dwindling crowds in test cricket well be the factor at the end as players like kohl would like a full house to show their prowess and would choose the biggest stage to showcase their skills.i am pinning my hopes on kohl to break all the batting records set by sachin,am sure the one day records will surely end up as kohl's but the test cricket batting records will be challenging,am sure he will get closer at worst but thats only if test cricket survives for another decade..i sincerely hope that test cricket survives!!

  • Unmesh_cric on February 4, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    I almost got goosebumps reading this article..bravo, Mr. Crowe!

  • Crictragic1 on February 4, 2014, 21:18 GMT

    Well said Martin; I agree with you, and have watched closely Kohli's audacity and shot selection, which has improved considerably. Such talent is hard to find, as has been pointed out. Hopefully, among the chaotic Indian Cricket administrators, there will be some wise and sensible heads (Sachin and Rahul, come to mind, along with VVS), who will be asked to offer guidance to the up-coming generation. Will India take a lesson from Australia in that regard?

  • Joll on February 4, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Hmmm. The true test of how good a batsman is, is test cricket, in which Kohli averages 44.6. Good, but not great. Is Martin Crowe anticipating greatness being stamped on Kohli because he has been seduced by Kohli's record in ODI's? It may be Kohli does become a true great, but he is not at the moment, and time will tell. But many a batsman has been labelled a potential geat, early in his career, only to fall short. This could happen to Kohli.

    Two further thoughts: If Tendulkar was the king of great, what does that make Bradman? God? And I would love to have seen Hadlee, the master, bowling to this Indian line-up. Hadlee, with his mastery of line, length, swing and seam, would have asked some fairly unpleasant questions of the Indian batsmen.

  • on February 4, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Beautifully written article Martin. I agree for the most part. While Kohli might have carved out his own "sui generis" , I strongly feel he is more of the Ricky Ponting mold. Maybe that is very high praise at this stage but the sheer arrogance and audacity (i am not referring to his on-field histrionics) displayed by him remind me of the Punter. I am tempted to suggest that he is far better than Sachin especially when it comes to handling pressure. I can elucidate further on this point but I don't want to incur the wrath of billion plus people of which i am a part of. Anyway, we are fortunate to have a batsman of the caliber of Virat. May he go from strength to strength and also serve as inspiration to batsmen around him to flourish. Also, in Pujara we have found the perfect successor to Rahul Dravid. His copious reserves of sound temperament is a true asset.

  • Sultan2007 on February 4, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    Super article. Didnt realize the great lyrical talent that Martin Crowe possesses. No disagreement on any comments concerning Kohli. I have always felt that he was the real deal even when he was struggling in his early series in the Windies. No surprise that he has come through. I feel similarly about Rohit Sharma. The class and the pedigree is so evident. And finally, Pujara. He MUST play limited overs cricket. Not only because he is good enough to play it but also to keep his batting sharp and to stay connected with the highest form of competition- at least in these, his formative years. With Test series getting shorter (-3 Tests), it is not fair to expect him to fire in his first essay and denies him the oportunity to rise to his full potential. Pujara/Rohit and Virat musr form the nucleus of the Indian batting side in all formats of the game

  • jimmyvida on February 4, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Great article. However, I for one would like to wait and see if in a few years' time Kohli is still where he is today. If Rohit is still with the team, he may be the man to watch. Only time will tell.

  • on February 4, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    Martin Crowe is as good a batsman as he is a writer. I never knew that. It's like watching a great dancer do his thing. It's just beautiful. Very well written. Compare this to the rubbish Sunil Gavaskar writes.

  • jw76 on February 4, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    Kohli, potentially a great batsman. Let's hope also, as Martin says, he will learn to adopt the spirit of Sachin and Rahul in the gentlemanly way they always played the game, so that he will receive the same great respect around the world that they have, instead of following the controversial route of such as Harbhajan and Sreesanth, who sadly have earned themselves bad names and do not enjoy that respect.

  • on February 4, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    rohit sharma is better than kohli.rohit is a late bloomer but he will get ahead of kohli very soon.

  • on February 4, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    There's one difference between Kohli and others. Despite being a great and equally good player, he's perhaps a better team player and less aimed at playing for records.

    During our series with Zimbabwe last year when he was the captain, he could have easily beaten Viv Richards record of fastest 5000 and various other records. He preferred not to bat and let others play and still won all 5 matches. In other words, he's as good a player as Sachin, as good a person as Dravid, and seems to be a good captain although he still has to be given a chance to prove that.

  • warneneverchuck on February 4, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    Nodoubt kohli has perform far better than so called greats like sanga amd mahela at very younger age when it comes to outside subcontinent

  • on February 4, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    Glorious article like your batting Martin. To put in a nut shell 'handsome is what handsome does' expect more such joyful articles from you master.

  • Temuzin on February 4, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Amen!. He is a great player who can become the greatest with passage of time. What I like him most is not his ability to score centuries, is not playing all the strokes but his swagger. His self belief and assertiveness is his greatest resources and will keep him good instead. Bravo Kohli. And thanks Martin for a poetic article.

  • ritearmover on February 4, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Martin,

    Clearly you write as well as you played - your article makes for exhilarating reading.

    I have always been afraid that Virat Kohli would go the Vinod Kambli way but he has proven himself to have a bit more staying power.

    The other understated bit was the meaninglessness of a two-test series. That is mere foreplay!

  • Nampally on February 4, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    An excellent piece in praise of Kohli - the Bold & Beautiful. As Martin says rightly Kohli's brashness is almost shameless & natural. But despite his extrovert outpouring, Kohli has walked the Talk & showed immense courage albeit some of his colleagues going down meekly. Kohli reminds me more of Polly Umrigar for his big hits rather than the modern Sachin, Rahul or Viru. He can hit the ball mercilessly & with brutal force just like Polly. An additional factor he brings in is he is an excellent player of fast bowlers. No wonder he is one of the best batsmen in the world ODI Cricket. While Kohli dominates the ODI, he averages just 44 in 22 Tests, well behind the leader Pujara who averages 66 from 17 Tests.It is unfortunate that Pujara's lack of Kohli's bold & brashness has kept him out of ODI's. Pujara is easily the best Indian batsman. As usual he will lead the Indian batting vs. NZ in the 2 Tests.Indian success in next 5 years will rest on these 2 "Talented Young Guns". Good Luck Guys!

  • cricketsubh on February 4, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    kholi need to need to improve his game in test his is not a world class test player he got the talent to become great player but he need to improve his test game. 2 of his out of 5 centuries came out side subcontinent but result 1 lose and draw i donot think player judge by his 100 i think he should judge by what kind of setution he score in the game in a dead match any player can make 100 virat kholi got 100 vs aus in adelide match was already over i donot think u should judge player making 100 not the result.

  • on February 4, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    In my Personal opinion, Kohli is a terrific player. He will break for sure Sachin.s highest oneday run and highest oneday century. However, I also believe that we can't compare Kohli with Sachin and Dravid. In particular, at 1990, when sachin started playing oneday, those days pitch is difficult. Batting wasn't that easy. So many great fast bowlers and so many great spin bowlers. 15 over fielding restriction come at 1996. it means first 6 years he played oneday without that advantage. Now a days pitch is more easy and flat to play comparing 90,s when Sachin dominated. Kohli definitely break Sachin oneday record but Sachin oneday record has more quality than Kohlis oneday record.

  • fair_paly_1 on February 4, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Looking at various comments, here is a perfect example of Indian psyche and how they all revere their godlike batsmen and their wonderful stats. It would appear, for the masses a cricketer means just a batsman. Why would anyone there want to be anything but a batting superstar?

    In the article "On why India can't unearth an Akram"; as I mentioned it is simple - it's because of the general psyche of their people.

    WI despite having their Viv Richards and Laras kept producing terrorising bowlers. And likewise Australia despite having their Bradman, Chappell and Ponting. Why? Because they never became godlike figures for their nations - not even Bradman with his enviable stats.

  • on February 4, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    kohli, pujara, rahane , vijay may be dhawan as well can form a great test batting core dat india had in the past. all of dem are young talented and hungry for runs. all dey need is good bowlers who can win matches outside sub continent if india finds the right bowlers who knows dis is another great team in the making

  • on February 4, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    He exudes the intensity of Rahul, the audacity of Virender, and the extraordinary range of Sachin......Great lines

  • getsetgopk on February 4, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    I see Junaid Khans bunny making quite a few headlines recently, just wait till he runs into Junaid again and see how greatness turns to jelly.

  • on February 4, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Martin Crowe is as artistic and classy with words as he was with a willow in his hands. Am in complete agreement with his assessment of Kohli. The factors that may stop him from achieving greatness in the game are; injury and the crass mentality

  • on February 4, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    I agree with most of what Crowe has mentioned but this series won't be as bad as the ODIs for sure... vijay showed in SA that he was a tough nut to crack and with a middle order of pujara kohli and rahane we can expect more solidity than was seen in the ODIs... I don't think one needs to read much into rahane s poor run in the odis ..however the team needs to decide on rohit sooner than later because he just doesn't seem to belong to the class of a kohli or pujara... he s struggling against quality pace and its time we brought in rayudu ..bowling will be led by zaheer along with shami jadeja and umesh yadav/ishwar pandey(no ishant please!!!!) .... I don't think ashwin will make the cut after jaddu s 6 for at Durban..

  • Vinne123 on February 4, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    I think Indians will also sleep better even if they are not performing well

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on February 4, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Behind Pujara and Kohli is Rahane, who's a technically sound batsmen. Rahane also impressed in South Africa recently- I won't be surprised if we see a lot more of him in the coming years.

  • UsmanMuhammad on February 4, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    Any piece of writing that talks about batsmanship being great in today's age is flawed in my view. I'm an admirer of kohli's batting and no doubt he is a notch above today's average batsman. But there needs to be a right balance in between bat and ball to make such judgement. I'm not asking for 50-50 balance because that will tear apart today's batsmen, even a 60-40 in favour of batsmen will be enough to stir competition.

    And I don't see why even a decent bowler would be frightened of any of today's batsman unless more matches are played on lifeless tracks.

  • on February 4, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    One of the best columns I have ever read on Cricinfo. Simply awesome. Bravo!

  • ThePacifist10 on February 4, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    I don't think Kohli is anything like the legends that have been mentioned in the article. To me he is more like Ponting. Especially in the way he pulls! That vicious pull off Steyn in Jo'burg is something I won't forget. He's been getting better at it over the past few years. Kohli is no doubt the next captain of India, and like Ponting, he's the sort of guy who will take the fight to the opposition. He's a frightening force who, if unleashed, is extremely difficult to stop. Remember Hobart and Jaipur?

  • on February 4, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    I agree.. The true classy Indian batsmen dont get support from the bowlers which is always the major cause for losses outside subcontinent. Unless India gets quality pace attack, overseas victories will remain only as a DREAM

  • on February 4, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    What a batsman he is. He has been majestic as a limited overs batsman, and ever since that perth game against australia 2 years ago, he has been consistently brilliant as a test batsman. The best there is in the world today

  • Naresh28 on February 4, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Martin Crowe's writeups remind one of the late Peter Roebuck. Him together with Aakash Chopra can give real technical aspects of the game being ex-batsman.

  • realfan on February 4, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut : point well made, every good cricketer has a weakness, but what differs men from the boys is that how you overcome that.. kohli may or may not overcome the weakness that you pointed out in this sereis, but surely he will work on that in the future... regarding kohli's inclusion in the category of batsmen , i dont include him in any list yet.. he is jut 25 now, he has a very long career ahead.. all those players you mentioned are well experienced and in early 30's... give kohli two years, he might surpass every one of them by that time... he has yet to see his prime...

  • Naresh28 on February 4, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    @peter jones2012 - You call us flat track bullies. Look at this link when 3 Indians scored 100's against NZ A recently IN NZ. This was an A-tour. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/569306.html

    These were scored outside India. In the last U19 WC in AUSTRALIA India emerged as victors under Chand.

  • on February 4, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Great ODI average and strike rate. But test average 44 is not that great, He has to reach at least 50 in test average.

  • realfan on February 4, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    @HashirSL : you are new to cricinfo. welcome..... but the thing is your statement converse is the truth...

  • on February 4, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    there was a recent piece on cricket which said that, Kane Williamson is the finest Kiwi batsman after the legendary Martin Crowe. I have no doubt about the either of the two. Once again, Kane is a batsman who, like Ian Bell and Michael Clarke can play the spinners better than their team mates. Brendon McCullum says, he hasn't seen Ross Taylor play better than this. Chetershwar Pujara didn't get a chance to showcase his skills for reason not known to him despite scoring runs at an average of 54 in domestic limited overs cricket. He will be keen to show what a class he is. Kohli has hit the kiwi grounds running. there is no stopping him. I can foresee a couple of hundreds from both these Indians. An underdog whom Martin missed in the Indian captain in the tour game, Rohit Sharma, a talent even Kohli stoops. its going to be interesting the way he handles Kiwis without Vettori. last but not the least, Mr Martin Crowe, your writings are no less than Ian Chappel's.

  • kiwicricketnut on February 4, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    kohli is brilliant no doubt about it but he has a weakness and hamish bennet exploited it in the 3rd odi, that line and length had kohli stuffed, he didn't seem to have a shot for it to get him out of jail, nz would of noticed and no doubt that will be exactly where they bowl to him in the tests, it will be a test of patience, if kohli is good enough to keep leaving the ball he'll score big but if he gets bored and trys to play it the bowlers will win, should be an interesting battle, every great batter has a weakness, the measure of how great he is, is if he can protect himself from this weakness and force bowlers into plan b to get him out. kohli is a modern day great and if he scores big in this series after the kiwi bowlers have sort of figured him out then i'll put him on the devilliers/ amla/ clarke pedestal but if he fails he will in my mind be more in the ross taylor/ kevin petersen /cook bracket, no disgrace in that just not a cricketing god

  • Amit_13 on February 4, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Greatness was defined by a lot more than their batsmanship. Kohli would do well to get anywhere near.. and it won't always be his fault. India is not in touch with its past. What qualified as greatness in the past, isn't what it means now. That's no denying that Kohli will rewrite a few pages in the Almanack.

  • HashirSL on February 4, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    And what insanity is it that an Indian player gets all praise by readers when praised by the writer, while someone 'foreign' gets all contempt by readers when praised by the writer!!! *Not undermining the Kohli Prowess but just explaining reality.

  • ansram on February 4, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    What a piece. The poetic charm in writing over shadowed its beautiful content.

  • on February 4, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    @Pranav: Ishant was at his peak of his career back then n bowled consistently 150+ kmph speeds.

  • on February 4, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    @Peter_Jones12 : are you kidding me??? Ponting has mere average of 25 in test in India, Lara looked mediocre if you look at his average is Lanka and India, same goes for hydos, his average in SA and ENG is pathetic and also in newzeland( which was supposed to have same conditions as AUS) , do I need to give up the averages of Sachin, dravid in Oceania and England??? or in SA? everywhere they exceed averages of 50... you have cricinfo stats for help.... use it.... don't comment blindly with half knowledge...

  • on February 4, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    I agree with most of the things about Kohli but he does not have the calm nature or the coolness of Rahul dravid. Rahul was a class apart in terms of dedication, sincerity and team spirit. Kohli has all the shots in the book and he is very good with his shot making and footwork. He will undoubtedly be one of the greats of ODI cricket BUT he does not have the patience and temperament to score in test cricket. Yes, he might get about 25 centuries but still he wont be as successful in Tests as compared to ODI.

    Lets say. to reach 18,000 ODI runs. He needs to get atleast 1000runs for the next 13 years. Which is a huge task. He will be 39 at the end of the his career.

    But to score 13,500 odd runs in test cricket would be very difficult. He needs to be the most consistent in the world to do that.

    anyways, end of the day. Sachin was a one man army for almost 70% of his career. Virat will end up being the same.

    "One Man show" .

    All the best !!

  • on February 4, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @Shashank pawar : that quality may be compared Ponting :-P

  • tickcric on February 4, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Your writing has an unwordly beauty about it Martin. Another wonderful read.

  • on February 4, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    Brilliant piece of writing with accurate insight and analysis. We have a mouthwatering contest ahead of us even though it may not get the same attention as IndvAus or a combination of Big 3/4.

  • on February 4, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    I am SL fan but,but I appreciate Koli's aggressive and talented sportsmanship. Over the past years he prove that how good he is , he is a De Villers kind of player who can play on any kind of track . Koli is great prospect for IND and phenomenal entertainer for world cricket fans.

  • on February 4, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    Well written Martin. Kohli is definitely the mainstay of Indian batting. An absolute delight to watch. He exudes a lot of confidence in the viewer also.

  • on February 4, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Martin Crowe. Eloquent as ever. Kohli has time and again proved why he is such a force in ODI cricket. The number of runs he has amassed in the last two years is staggering and like you've pointed out, his best years are yet to come. He is showing maturity since the last year and that is going to only make him focused. I'm sure we'll see more blistering knocks from Kohli.

  • Biophysicist on February 4, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    @vik56in: You say "In comparison Tendulkar at this stage of his career was averaging in the mid 50s...". Please check Cricinfo stats and you will find that Tendulkar after 22 tests scored 1217 runs with 4 centuries and an average of 39.25. In comparison, Kohli has scored 1507 runs with 5 centuries and an average of 44.32. Clearly you can see who has better stats. The only thing in Tendulkar's favor was that he was considerbly younger at the same stage of his career.

  • on February 4, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    I agree.. The true classy Indian batsmen dont get support from the bowlers which is always the major cause for losses outside subcontinent. Unless India gets quality pace attack, overseas victories will remain only as a DREAM

  • on February 4, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    Peter Jones you are such a troll. Ponting couldn't even bat against Ishant while Sachin has taken apart McGrath,Fleming,Warne,Gillespie,Kasprowiscz....you name it. Does that make Ponting the worst player against fast bowling? No it doesn't. It just goes to show you can say anything and try to make it seem true. Go to statsguru it's not that hard.

  • Naresh28 on February 4, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    EXCELLENT. MARTIN CROWE - himself was a great NZ cricketer. A well-written article. Most other writers always seem to bash Indian cricket, not Crowe. He recognizes the talent that Indian cricket throws up while others are calling Kohli a flat track bully. Kohli himself has done a lot to change that perception of late. His bat has done the talking.

  • on February 4, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    What an article by Crowe here. "His last-second tap of the bat as the bowler gathers".. My god, this guy is as good as it gets. Looking forward to more.

  • on February 4, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Loving this avatar of Martin Crowe ! He has to already be one of the most astute and brilliant cricket writers around ! He approached writing with the same grace and elegance that he did his batting ! Even the bowler would be pardoned for occasionally standing and applauding in the follow through !

  • rustyryan on February 4, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    @Peter_Jones2012: Can you show me the stats please? Punter has scored only one century in India where as Sachin as got as many as 6 test century in Aus with an average over 53. Where as Punter averages meager 28 in India. Lara, apart from one series against SL, did not play as effectively in spinner friendly condition than anywhere else and he averages 34 in Ind where as Sachin got 47 in West Indies. Against England in England, both Punter and Lara averages just over 41 where as Sachin averages over 53 in England. Make no mistake, I am not the one who look for statistics to judge the greatness. All three are greats in my world where as when you bring out the ill-informed knowledge about your statistics just to degrade the player by comparing over others, it doesnt feel good. Cricinfo statsguru is just a click away. More over this article is not at al bout other Indian players and you can see Kohli's away record. Ho regarding Haydos, he avgs 34 in SA and Eng and 28 in NZ. Case closed.

  • on February 4, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    Dravid's intensity, Sehwag's audacity, and Sachin's extraordinary range - Virat Kohli has all of it. All right. But what about the high quality abusing vocabulary with attitude he walks on and off field? With whom you can compare with?

  • Brahams on February 4, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    @Peter_Jones2012 - keep repeating the nonsense all day - it will become YOUR truth, soon enough.

    Have you ever looked into the away records of a guy called Sunil Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar? Have you heard about a guy called Mohinder Amarnath who was one of the few who could play hooks and pulls against the mighty Windies and a rampaging Imran Khan? Oh well....

    India is and has been a weak team because of lack of quality fast bowlers - not because of lack of quality batsmen. And it is natural that Indians when they go abroad find the bounce difficult to deal with. But India batsmen have done enough over all these years to gain respect from everyone.

    There are years when Indian batsmen do well abroad and they earn draws (due to lack of good fast bowling resources) and when they don't, they lose. This is what the stats show!

  • DaisonGarvasis on February 4, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    Yes Martin, its Kohli's eyes. When you see someone with talent, you just know. To have the talent is one thing and to make full use of it is another. Some people make full use of the talent and some get lazy and give occassional glimpses. Kolhi fit the former group and Rohit Sharma fits the later.

  • on February 4, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    the 2 test matches will be on green tops not easy for batsmen of both sides but nz players have played a lot on these wickets so the result of this series depends on how are fast men exploit the conditions and how our batters perform but its going to be a very very exiting series

  • on February 4, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Kohli is the best batsman in the world today. While I admire his intensity, he need to accept the occasional failure with more mental equanimity. When you learn how to lose, the victories achieved will be more fulfilling and gratifying

  • Adam_Leban on February 4, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Overrated flat pitch players. Look at the number of centuries he scored, and where. Most of them were on friendly batting conditions. NZ pitches are not longer like how it use to be. Even in South Africa, he scored on batting paradise. You lot can hype him up, when he scored tons in Aussies against Patterson and co consistently. Other than Dravid, most of the Indians are flat pitch players. Stats shows it. They are not in the same league as Hayden, Ponting, Lara.

  • joseyesu on February 4, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    I remember where Raina was holding the place no4 in ODI and Kohli was included in middle order and raina sent to no7 in WC. From there Raina was going down.

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    Incredibly well-written. Writing is your new career, Martin Crowe. Relative to Pujara, Kohli, and Taylor, Kane Williamson is unproven at test level. But on home pitches against an average seam attack like India's, he should do well, unless Aaron & Shami can swing it at 140+. The non-inclusion of Pujara in ODIs remains India's greatest selection error. Especially these days, there are hardly any practice matches before the tests. The ODIs are used to acclimatise your players. After that century at the Wanderers against Steyn & Co, there is no doubt--Kohli is already the best batsman in the world. A Pujara-like concentration will make him one of the best of all time.

  • vik56in on February 4, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    Crowe has deified Kohli. While the praise is fair in terms of Kohli's one day exploits. He still has a long way to go in Tests before he can be compared to what Dravid or Sachin has achieved in Tests. Kohli is the master of the one day game but in Tests he is still averaging only in the 40s.In comparison Tendulkar at this stage of his career was averaging in the mid 50s in the period of the nineties when bowling pitches and great fast bowlers ruled cricket.

  • US_Indian on February 4, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    you are right indian fan, and also they need to give a longer rope to Rayudu because he has not played even 1/20th of what rohit and raina played so he can be persisted with and there is Uthappa to bat at the top he is back in form let the senior gambhir and Uthappa take over from here and see the result and also they take players and do not often play them and make them warm the bench which is not good for a youngsters morale and I believe three more guys are gearing up one is samad fallah of Maharashtra,. Mithun of Karnataka and Imtiaz of UP and include Rasool and this guy gopal the leg spinner from Karnataka is good I would say looks much better than Rahul sharma and looks like a genuine leg spinner in the mould of Warne than Kumble which Is a good sign try them young I foresee Jaddu or Nadeem doing the left arm spnners job and rasool and ashwin competing for offie's place and this guy gopal and Rahul sharma as leg spinners they should try new options rather than sticking with same,

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    pujara and kohli they have already in there.... I just have a gut feeling this will be the defining two test matches for rahane.he has the temperament and technique to do wonders.... go India go fight it out! cheers!

  • fullawareness on February 4, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    What a fantastic article!. Thanks Martin. Sambit Bal, Martin Crowe and Ian Chapell are the best and most nuanced thinkers of the game on cricinfo. Sanjay Manjrekar follows in the next league. Although I disagree with Martin's prediction. I think India will 2-0. expect Ashwin and more so Jadeja to cause lot of problems. Kohli and Pujara will easily put on big scores. New zealand will be half as good as they were in the ODIs

  • slasher on February 4, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    Another straight drive from Martin Crowe. I am excited at seeing in form batsmen in what should be a very good test match. Before the ODI's I was convinced NZ would be smashed in the tests, but I am daring to believe (although optimistically cautious might be a better description). Southee and Boult were amazing in helpful conditions against WI and this will tell us how much they have progressed the last couple of seasons. Wagner will give it his but will also be aware he has some contenders for his spot if he fails to deliver

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    Martin wonderful piece Indians and Dhoni erred by not picking Pujara . Keep picking Raina for the odd overs he can bowl or Ashwin for he might bat. They deserved the defeat

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    Only stable players in the Indian lineup are Kohli,Dhoni,Rahane,Pujara and Zaheer.I can't see anyone else being consistent overseas.And New Zealand will definitely be hard to beat if the other bowlers don't improve and except shami the others seem unlikely to do so.In any case whatever happens these are good times for Indian cricket(if the BCCI can just shut up for a while) and it will be a pleasure watching Kohli and Pujara bat just like it was with Dravid and Sachin especially against some good bowling like this.

  • IndCricFan2013 on February 4, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    While Kohli matches to Ross taylors scores, the difference is that when Kane scored 5 50's Pujara was not playing ODI's. Indian selectors seems one dimensional on pujara they need to think hard now. What has Rahane, Rohit, Raydu, Dhawan and Raina did ODI that Pujara can not do..? Please.

  • IndCricFan2013 on February 4, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    While Kohli matches to Ross taylors scores, the difference is that when Kane scored 5 50's Pujara was not playing ODI's. Indian selectors seems one dimensional on pujara they need to think hard now. What has Rahane, Rohit, Raydu, Dhawan and Raina did ODI that Pujara can not do..? Please.

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    Only stable players in the Indian lineup are Kohli,Dhoni,Rahane,Pujara and Zaheer.I can't see anyone else being consistent overseas.And New Zealand will definitely be hard to beat if the other bowlers don't improve and except shami the others seem unlikely to do so.In any case whatever happens these are good times for Indian cricket(if the BCCI can just shut up for a while) and it will be a pleasure watching Kohli and Pujara bat just like it was with Dravid and Sachin especially against some good bowling like this.

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    Martin wonderful piece Indians and Dhoni erred by not picking Pujara . Keep picking Raina for the odd overs he can bowl or Ashwin for he might bat. They deserved the defeat

  • slasher on February 4, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    Another straight drive from Martin Crowe. I am excited at seeing in form batsmen in what should be a very good test match. Before the ODI's I was convinced NZ would be smashed in the tests, but I am daring to believe (although optimistically cautious might be a better description). Southee and Boult were amazing in helpful conditions against WI and this will tell us how much they have progressed the last couple of seasons. Wagner will give it his but will also be aware he has some contenders for his spot if he fails to deliver

  • fullawareness on February 4, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    What a fantastic article!. Thanks Martin. Sambit Bal, Martin Crowe and Ian Chapell are the best and most nuanced thinkers of the game on cricinfo. Sanjay Manjrekar follows in the next league. Although I disagree with Martin's prediction. I think India will 2-0. expect Ashwin and more so Jadeja to cause lot of problems. Kohli and Pujara will easily put on big scores. New zealand will be half as good as they were in the ODIs

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    pujara and kohli they have already in there.... I just have a gut feeling this will be the defining two test matches for rahane.he has the temperament and technique to do wonders.... go India go fight it out! cheers!

  • US_Indian on February 4, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    you are right indian fan, and also they need to give a longer rope to Rayudu because he has not played even 1/20th of what rohit and raina played so he can be persisted with and there is Uthappa to bat at the top he is back in form let the senior gambhir and Uthappa take over from here and see the result and also they take players and do not often play them and make them warm the bench which is not good for a youngsters morale and I believe three more guys are gearing up one is samad fallah of Maharashtra,. Mithun of Karnataka and Imtiaz of UP and include Rasool and this guy gopal the leg spinner from Karnataka is good I would say looks much better than Rahul sharma and looks like a genuine leg spinner in the mould of Warne than Kumble which Is a good sign try them young I foresee Jaddu or Nadeem doing the left arm spnners job and rasool and ashwin competing for offie's place and this guy gopal and Rahul sharma as leg spinners they should try new options rather than sticking with same,

  • vik56in on February 4, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    Crowe has deified Kohli. While the praise is fair in terms of Kohli's one day exploits. He still has a long way to go in Tests before he can be compared to what Dravid or Sachin has achieved in Tests. Kohli is the master of the one day game but in Tests he is still averaging only in the 40s.In comparison Tendulkar at this stage of his career was averaging in the mid 50s in the period of the nineties when bowling pitches and great fast bowlers ruled cricket.

  • on February 4, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    Incredibly well-written. Writing is your new career, Martin Crowe. Relative to Pujara, Kohli, and Taylor, Kane Williamson is unproven at test level. But on home pitches against an average seam attack like India's, he should do well, unless Aaron & Shami can swing it at 140+. The non-inclusion of Pujara in ODIs remains India's greatest selection error. Especially these days, there are hardly any practice matches before the tests. The ODIs are used to acclimatise your players. After that century at the Wanderers against Steyn & Co, there is no doubt--Kohli is already the best batsman in the world. A Pujara-like concentration will make him one of the best of all time.

  • joseyesu on February 4, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    I remember where Raina was holding the place no4 in ODI and Kohli was included in middle order and raina sent to no7 in WC. From there Raina was going down.