India v South Africa, World t20 semi-final, Dhaka

Kohli sharpened under pressure

Pressure is supposed to be an impediment to executing your skills. It hacks away and blunts it. Not for Virat Kohli

Abhishek Purohit in Dhaka

April 4, 2014

Comments: 74 | Text size: A | A

Virat Kohli tees off, India v South Africa, World T20, semi-final, Mirpur, April 4, 2014
Virat Kohli is the ice man in a tense situation © Getty Images
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Why is it nearly always him? Why is it he is who is nearly always standing out there at the end of a victorious chase? There are others in this story, of course. There always are others. There is always a supporting cast. There is space even in this format for an opening dash. Likewise, there is also space for a closing sprint. But why is it he who nearly always runs and wins the marathon, for which there is a space even in the shortest format. Why does a high-pressure chase in a world tournament semi-final appear like an algorithm being executed at Virat Kohli's command?

He goes at a strike-rate of 163.63 and still, scores comfortably more than half his runs in singles and twos. He says a single is as important as a six in a format where run a ball is universally considered slow. A format in which the defending champions think only sixes matter. He does not hit his first till his 17th delivery, but that does not stop him from already logging more than run a ball by then. Notice the timing of that six. It comes immediately after a partnership has ended, and the opposition is looking to tighten things. But it does not come against the specialist bowler. He does it against the part-timer.

The closing sprinter does his job in the matter of an over. But the marathon is still going on. The opposition's best bowler will bowl two of the last three overs. Now there is no question of picking bowlers like it was earlier. So the best fast bowler in the world is taken for two fours in an over. Flicked over midwicket. Charged at and carved over point.

Skill. High-quality skill. Skill that nearly always comes good under pressure, when it is dearly needed to. Pressure is supposed to be an impediment to executing your skill. It is an impediment for most. It hacks away at your skill, blunts it, even though it has been honed over years and years and seems as natural as eating.

This format can blunt your skills even further with its everything-or-nothing, ultra-condensed nature. Look at what happened to Pakistan and West Indies, powerful, explosive sides both. They had to chase big runs or the tournament was over for them. They just bottled up. Forget going down swinging, they could not even summon themselves to make a decent attempt. The pressure had blunted them so much.

Here we have a man who does the very opposite. Pressure sharpens his skills. It gives him an extreme, eerie clarity of mind. He talks lucidly about continuing to pick up singles and twos to avoid that "rush of blood", that screaming instinct which will implore you to hit a boundary every time you play a couple of dot balls in T20. So what does he do? He just cuts off the dot balls completely.

Kohli faced 44 deliveries, of which three were dots. The first one was the first delivery he faced, a 145 kph lifter that nearly every batsman hopeful of batting for any length of time would play out safely. The second one, his 25th, was a superb slow bouncer which he tried to get away, but only managed an inside edge. The third, his 39th, was a quick outswinger that he tried to drive, but was beaten.

India have chased four times this World T20. Three times Kohli has been there when the winning runs were hit with scores of 36*, 57* and 72*.

Astonishing as just three dots in a 44-ball innings are, at least two of them were not intentional from Kohli, and the one that was intentional was also quite a wise choice. So barring that first ball, at no point during his knock was Kohli's intent to not score runs.

And just like his skills are sharpened under pressure, so is his intent. We do not need to peer into the make-up of his innings to know that. This intent business is always overpowering, in-your-face coming from Kohli, although he might want to temper a few manifestations of it when he becomes the captain. Kicking a ball in anger because a team-mate misfields. Waving his bat in frustration if his batting partner, a quite senior one at that, turns down a second run. Pumping his fist when he hits a boundary, especially the ones that appear to come at exactly the moment a big shot is required. Celebrating with raw passion after he has tamed another chase.

India have chased four times this World T20. Three times Kohli has been there when the winning runs were hit with scores of 36*, 57* and 72*. The fourth time, by the time he fell he had practically ended the match with his 54. Why? Why is it him again and again and again?

"Is that a valid question?" he says, before laughing, and then responding. "I think anyone in the world does the same things. Cricket is played more between your ears than your technique. If you can mentally be strong then you can tell yourself to stay on the wicket.

"Today, till about 20 runs, I didn't hit a boundary. It's about staying patient and staying calm and not thinking about how many runs or balls are remaining. It is important to back yourself which I think everybody does with time. Once you start scoring runs you start believing in yourself more. That's something I try to do and try to keep myself in that zone. There is no secret. Everyone wants to do well, everyone wants to score."

Which is what the point is. Everyone wants to, but he is able to, much more than many others are. Like tonight, when there was an able supporting cast. And there was King Kohli.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AravindVatsal82 on (April 9, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

RUN MACHINE VIR@ KHOLI, Guys Just look @ the ICC ranking which is clear Indicator of Consistency of players & the teams u r as good as that, as long as u stay @ the top.....

Posted by AravindVatsal82 on (April 9, 2014, 8:52 GMT)

Vir@ Kholi just confirms above he has the technique,class talent,patience,agression,Passion then what the most impt <Cricketing Brain> which makes what he is,will be the horse of long race just never tiring<stats should show the error % of his batting for me it will be the lowest,as most of his shots are from book & risk free thats the reason being so consistent,more impt willingness to stay at the crease like nobody,which tells sense of responsibility he takes of the team,the self belief is tremondous,guys i will not call him gr8 but @ the moment too good, looking fwd for Eng tour i just keep counting stats will have tough time ahead..

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (April 9, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

Kohli has played only 24 tests, is already 25, will play another 12-13 years, perhaps around 120 tests, will finish with 150 tests. So cant see him breaking Tendulkar's test centuries tally. But he will play many more notable and momorable innings in his career than Sachin did, and will be remembered for forcing victories.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (April 6, 2014, 2:22 GMT)

Thank you Sachin for giving us Kohli.

Posted by getgopi on (April 6, 2014, 0:33 GMT)

I have seen a few comments in the last few days where people praise Kohli's performance and then say something like "I don't really like Kohli but...". What's with that?! Let me tell you something: Being a little crazy and egoistic is what will allow some people to perform so well at this elite level regardless of the sport or occupation. That flamboyant attitude is what defines men like Kohli and KP and helped bring them to this level...not to mention helping them identify and conquer their weaknesses with single-minded determination. England shrugged off KP and look what it got them. So come off your high horses. These are supremely fit, high achievers.

Posted by bariaji on (April 5, 2014, 23:57 GMT)

I have seen Kohli break into argument with audience reacting to friendly bantering while fielding at boundary. And I have also seen him eliminating every trace of distraction while batting under extreme pressure. Now this is an extraordinary ability to be able to able to make that nature of transformation.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 19:35 GMT)

rohit sharma is more talented than virat,rohit just needs mentality like kohli.rohit sharma will go ahead of kohli in future.

Posted by madmadmaddee on (April 5, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

Nice article articulated. Its the same perspective being put in words which are running through the head. The best:Why does a high-pressure chase in a world tournament semi-final appear like an algorithm being executed at Virat Kohli's command? Yes it seems he actually applies an algorithm at his command. Felt so proud to watch him play that way. Great player, intelligent mind. Hail Virat Kohli!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 11:38 GMT)

The 70s belonged to Gavaskar The 80s belonged to Kapil Dev The 90s and 00s to Sachin and now The 10s and ,,, belong to Kohli

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

T20,ODI,Tests,3 day,4 day,Eng,NZ,Aus,SL,Pak,WI,Joberg,Perth,Hamilton.. Virat is simply the best.. Its incredible to keep the consistency in all formats, all conditions and against all opposition. Unbelievable.. We must stand and salute this guy.. He is surely one of the gems india produced.. Keep going Virat..

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 10:46 GMT)

Virat is the one modern match chaser in india team, he playes very well and he has to maintain some pationsy to get india more wins in cricket, but not forget that one very good memorable hero in indian team that is yuvraj, with out yuvi we have not won the T20 world cup-2007 and world cup -2011, please remember that yuvi is the one of the key player in indian team, and try to utilize that match winner in all sectors.(i.e in bowling , fieding at covers)

Posted by MSMN on (April 5, 2014, 10:13 GMT)

Run machine VK, plz follow tendulya be a player but not a captain. I love MSD for everything I only hate bec he plays for CSK. See his analysis on amla ball 1 ASH wide MSD saw amla was on backfoot , informed ASH Ball 2 ASHWARNE bowled ...jadeja 2 over for 8 runs did not cont bec of lefty dhoni is way a head then other captains Aamir Khan of cricket. Dhoni plz keep yuvraj inside the circle not @ boundary line.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

Pakistan Team should learn from the Indian players, because it is not only that the PAKISTAN Team is under pressure against them, they too are under pressure, but they play sensibly and with responsibility, rarely seen they are against the wall. The result is clear that they are the only unbeaten side in the tournament. May they win the final too ameen.Hats off for MS DHONI for leading from the front. Keep it up. Pakistan hasn't got a captain to lead from the front since Imran, Wasim, Miandad r Zaheer etc as they proved themselves either way in batting r bowling. One win makes Pakistan Team so proud of themselves by saying that they are in true form capable of beating any team but only on paper.bcoz they are the strongest side on paper not only in the field.How brilliant performances by M/s Kohli, Raina, Rahane, Ashwin and above all their captain.This is the team who can really feel proud of themselves. Good luck.

Posted by Raj-ko on (April 5, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

Why everboby forgot RAINA. The victory was not possible without RAINA'S almost one over 23 at crusial moment.

Posted by sanjey on (April 5, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

I don't like VK.... or dint like him... But there is no way... you got to like him. I am a Sri Lankan and love SL cricket. But VK is class and I bet he will break most of SRTs records. In pressure games, chases he is already far better than all of them. I would call him a modern great and destined to hold most of the batting records including winning matches which a lot of others didn't manage!!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 9:06 GMT)

This generation has problem of respecting the mediocre & taking superb for granted.

SA despite having no 1 & 2 ICC ranked so called class batsmen Amla, DeVilliers & no 1, 2 ,3 ICC ranked bowlers has failed to even make it to final of any ICC event shows only 1 thing that SA's so called greats r just overrated chokers who fail to perform when it matters the most: in big games.They have boosted their stats in low profile bilateral series & fail miserably in big games when opposition is serious.

True greats rise to the big occasion, like Aussie greats made AUS win 3 consecutive WCs including a total of 6 consecutive SFs QFs & finals without losing a single game in those WCs. ..The big match player of all time: Tendulkar was highest scorer in 2 WCs,2nd highest in 3rd & was Man of the Match in 6 out of 9 Tournament finals that Ind won while he was in the team, with superior avg of 50+ in WCs & tournament finals. No other batsman has tournament final & WC record even barely close to him.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 8:09 GMT)

excellent well planned game couplr of boundrries from on dide in spite of best fielders a challenge well delivered congrats by tarul shukla ahmedabad

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

a new name tag from me to virat , there was little master, haryana hurricane, the wall, master blaster and here is MASTER CHASER

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 7:48 GMT)

self belief is the premier key for the success of kohli. Now he is making giant strides more confidently without any pressure. A cricketer should be mentaly strong enough before he start playing. Kohli is a very good lesson to be learnt by all the other cricketers in the world.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 7:46 GMT)

gavaskar, kapil, sachin and kohli such players come once a life time so enjoy instead of comparing them

Posted by teammate on (April 5, 2014, 7:36 GMT)

Master of chase Virat did it again. He is the only difference between Indian team and other teams.. A classic T20 innings.. Lucky to have watched it ball by ball.

Posted by Vedson on (April 5, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

Kohli will break every records in cricket of luck to him i always enjoy his batting while chasing a mammoth score...Gud luck Team Indai for finals...i know u can do it once again...Jai Hind

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:26 GMT)

Can a good marathon man also be a good sprinter? In running, as a competitive sport? No, it is not possible. They need very different physical frames. Very different mental frames too.

YES, in the realm of competitive cricket, it is possible. Virat is a living proof.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 7:18 GMT)

Wow Great Win Extraordinary Batting Kohli always batting in big game what a player he is India is now unstoppable Best of luck team india for Final

Posted by scklnka on (April 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

wow wow wow,,well done team india,,chased down 170+ total against good bowling attack in a knockout game thats simply great,,,,virat kohli is next big big thing in world cricket, ,,,oh wait a minute where are those pak ,sl,bang,oz haters,,who where predicting India will get thrashed by styne and co,, I guess they themselves get thrashed by watching this performance of team india in tv;-):-D,,and for the final vs sl we all know the result :'D

Posted by usernames on (April 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

@electric_loco -- If Davy Warner is the Bradman of any generation, we've got some really poor batsmen going around. He's more like the Sehwag of this generation enjoying his heyday.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

@kalyan budhavarti he is already 25 years

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 6:32 GMT)

@Sriikis - Tendulkar singlehandedly won a lot more matches for India than Kohli has. Kohli's centuries in South Africa and New Zealand came in defeats, was he playing for his personal records then? No, it is a team game - not easy to win matches on your own! Without Rohit's quick start, and Raina's quick cameo at the end, may be India wouldn't have won!

Posted by sriikis on (April 5, 2014, 5:59 GMT)

Guys please don't compare Kohli to Tendulkar...Kohli plays to win matches not to make records...

Posted by deepak.krishnamurthy on (April 5, 2014, 5:55 GMT)

Yet another fine innings from Kohli, coming at exactly the correct time. Sometimes, great innings are played during inconsequential matches, so the value is just not the same. The innings from Kohli yesterday underlined his superiority over other batsmen at the present time. It came exactly when required, and got India to a final. These are innings that you tend to remember over a long period mainly because they led to an Indian win over a good side.

Conversely, Sunil Gavaskar played a good number of great innings, but all of them tend to be forgotten because almost all of them came in inconsequential matches which ended as dull draws.

Thus, one has to always be able to view an innings from the perspective of the team and the team's situation. Going by this view, there is no doubt that Kohli's innings yesterday needs to be lauded.

Deepak Krishnamurthy

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 5:54 GMT)

Kohli's batting is a template of batting that others including MSD should learn. Kohli is not a product of Dhoni's generation and he has had nothing to do with his rise. In every sense of the world, Kohli is a self made man. Came into the side based on performances, stayed in the side because of performances. He never required any favours from the selectors/Captain etc etc because he just did not need it. The secret of Kohli's success is his all round game. He definitely has the best technique in today's game and that word, 'Balance', like Sachin. And add a mind to that which thinks so strategically(he is undoubtedly the best pacer of an innings, EVER) like some CEO running a big corp. People tend to forget he is just 23. IMO, this is just the beginning for Kohli!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

Please don't compare one cricketer with another. Each are different in their own class. And each record is created in different circumstances.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 5:41 GMT)

Kohli is copy of Sachin. Thanks to Sachin for developing talent like Kohli in india

Posted by AtulDEO on (April 5, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

An algorithm is a micro to mega-micro process perfected by its habituated process; whether mathematical or an algorithm of our own life. Kohli has processed and is processing it to perfection, shot-by-shot and thought-by-thought, which no great coach, even Sir Alex Ferguson, can teach a ward. It has to be done by the ward to the ward himself.Watching Kohli for the last 2-3 years, he is immaculately in that process of refinement. He is work in motion.He is no product of any generation. He is a product of his own process.Processing pressure, processing accumulation of runs and thereby admiration.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 5:29 GMT)

The key to Kohli's success in the shorter formats is that he can take a single off almost any sort of delivery without any risk. The hands, the placement, the ability to dash off for quick singles... That's the greatness in his batting. Any bowling attack is bound to bowl about 7-8 boundary balls in a 50-ball innings - enough for Kolhi to get that strike rate above 130 comfortably.

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

Virat is doubt no second thoughts about that. But there is a special thing about this re-incarnated Indian team as well. The desperation to win. Unfazed and undeterred, the players continue to aim for win, no matter how many wickets they lose, they don't lose the belief to win. They don't lose before they actually lose. Hats Off. I wish the attitude continue for generations to come.

Posted by pankajkumarsingh on (April 5, 2014, 5:27 GMT)

"Why? Why is it him again and again and again?".... Does it matter Mr. Purohit? Someone has to be a hero... for now, Kohli is the one. Your question then begins to sound a bit silly. A few people (before Kohli) have managed to pull that off. Sachin Tendulkar, Richard Hadlee to name a few. And to undermine Rohit Sharma's and Suresh Raina's innings (not that I am a fan or Rohit Sharma) is naive. If your question has a respect for Kohli.. .then your point taken.... If not, it's a naive question. Kohli is probably the best in the business.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (April 5, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

If Davy Warner is the Bradman of this gen.-the best-,V Kokili is the Jardine.-:)

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 5:23 GMT)

We all know how bad india were in chasing totals.. That used to be our isp. That all changed with attitude captains ganguly &dhoni. But ONLY KOHLI made india the best chasing team in the world. Any team would stutter chasing 173(leave alone against best bowling attacks) but not india today. It all goes down to Kohli and supporting cast,this time raina, belief in their ability.

We always say things about starting every match differently but only kohli does it. start the innings to end as a winner. Hats off Kohli.

Posted by indopakfan on (April 5, 2014, 5:10 GMT)

more than tendulkar, one can see the hard work, courage, persistence and cond consistency of rahul dravid in kohli....

Posted by abhi7289shek on (April 5, 2014, 5:06 GMT)

VK is the only reason why we ain't feeling the absence of great SRT

Posted by CurrentPresident on (April 5, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

Tendulkar needs to get a new safe. Virat the Pirate is coming.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 4:57 GMT)

he plays well......

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 4:56 GMT)

Virat Kohli is a product of the MS Dhoni "generation". He is a match winner. Period. Just as in the case with MSD, he is not worried even remotely about statistics or records. For him it is winning that matters. For the good of Indian cricket, let his tribe increase.

Posted by bansal12 on (April 5, 2014, 4:50 GMT)

Let us not put pressure on Kohli by comparing him to Tendulkar or expecting the every record to be in his name. He is a young player and playing his best without any selfish motto for records. And who says that aggression is not good for game? If aggression is not good that how India came to winning ways? Do we have completely forgotten the aggression and self belief brought to this team by the combine of John Wright & Sourav Ganguly? The issue is when you have to show aggression and when you have to keep cool. Any how let us keep it for future and enjoy a genius for the time being.

Posted by vgsr on (April 5, 2014, 4:23 GMT)

With Kohli its not a matter of being in form. He has been at the same level since he first started . That more than just form. At the rate at which he is going , I exoect Tendulkars records to be bettered, that too at a better strike rate and more consistency.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (April 5, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

He has such an influence while chasing ..dat india always want to bowl first anomaly to past indian teams..

Posted by subratachakrabarty on (April 5, 2014, 4:11 GMT)

In the post-match conversation, Sanjay Manjrekar made a very interesting comment that he sees a great deal of young Sachin Tendulkar in Virat Kohli. Well, as much as I think that it is too early to compare Sachin and Virat, we also have to see the format we are commenting about. Yes, its a pressure situation; yes, there's no time to think but again, is this the real test? Guess, not. T20I are different ball game altogether. But there is an undeniable fact as well. Last night, VK displayed, what can be called as the cream-da-le-cream inning of the tournament so far. And its not the first time he has done that. Strategically, he is always one step ahead. Like he likes to think 10 overs and 100 runs to get rather than 60 balls and 100 runs. He knew that Dale will be dangerous in the last over and therefore, tried to finish the game in 19th over and almost did that. He took risks, but they are calculative. He always had a back up plan and he always will. Well done, VK. Country is proud.

Posted by spinkingKK on (April 5, 2014, 3:54 GMT)

Very well written article, Abhishek. To me Kohli resembles Tendulkar in his early days, when it comes to the assurance he gives to the team. When Kohli is at the crease, everything is under control. He never looked like worried about anything and it was as if he can hit a boundary at will, no matter who the bowler is. In this match, the opening partnership set the tone and it was a bit more easier for Kohli to do what he does best. Also, that over by Raina also helped a lot. But, in the earlier occassions, it was even more difficult situations in ODI's and Kohli just delivered exactly what was required at those situations. He is up against his favorite set of bowlers (if Kohli ever has a favorite team) in the final and hopefully another Kohli masterclass can be witnessed.

Posted by BK07 on (April 5, 2014, 3:51 GMT)

All know Kholi is best, but his temper and aggresion on field is not good for gentleman CRICKET. If he did't control it and manage it in time, mark my words "He will destroy himself", and more ever the number of fans of Kohli are based on his inning not his behave or sportmanship or they supposed their eye not facing TVs when his aggression broadcasting in Channel !!!

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 3:39 GMT)

He will end up with the best test average after Bradman and also in the top 3 in 50 overs and T20

Posted by SidtheCricWhizkid on (April 5, 2014, 3:33 GMT)

Focus like that of Dravid, Talent similar to Sachin and attacking style like Viv.....all in one package and that's Virat Kohli for you !

Posted by Un_Citoyen_Indien on (April 5, 2014, 3:26 GMT)

All hail King Kohli. The Koh-i-noor of India!

Posted by BhaskarHajong on (April 5, 2014, 3:21 GMT)

Keep it up Kohli. 5 years from now you will be called a great

Posted by Vishal_07 on (April 5, 2014, 3:04 GMT)

After Sachin, India is in safe hands and more importantly Kohli doesn't have to do it all. Awesome job, Kohli but a more important game awaits!

Posted by scklnka on (April 5, 2014, 2:36 GMT)

wow wow wow,,well done team india,,chased down 170+ total against good bowling attack in a knockout game thats simply great,,,,virat kohli is next big big thing in world cricket, ,,,oh wait a minute where are those pak ,sl,bang,oz haters,,who where predicting India will get thrashed by styne and co,, I guess they themselves get thrashed by watching this performance of team india in tv;-):-D,,and for the final vs sl we all know the result :'D

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 1:40 GMT)

"Everyone wants to, but he is able to, much more than many others are." sums it all for king kohli.

Posted by raveekoomar on (April 5, 2014, 1:35 GMT)

Maybe next time if he scores then we can call him Kohling than scoring runs. Its as easy as milking runs. Hmm.....

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 1:34 GMT)

If India win this cup, then it would be called as Kohli's series. With the exception of Bevan no one has consistently managed to score runs like these in limited over matches. He has taken himself and his team a level above the rest.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 1:22 GMT)

what a class he is absolute genius. and he's just 25 if he stays fit and play for another 10 years he will surpass even d greatest batsmen

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (April 5, 2014, 1:06 GMT)

Let's not get ahead of ourselves -- let's win the next game and then we can praise our hero(es)!!

Posted by TRAM on (April 5, 2014, 0:53 GMT)

"Everyone wants to, but he is able to," because he wants it MORE. He analyzes what he needs to do and he DOES it, both in keeping the body fit, keeping the mind fit and avoiding what is against it. It is called HARD WORK with DISCIPLINE. He is sure an inspiration for other players. There is difference between previous generation hard-workers for example SRT and Kohli. Kohli's demonstration of his hardwork is for the team's cause rather than his personal score/performance. That is why he gets mad even if his team mate under-performs. It is a BIG difference. India has not seen such player for a long time.

Posted by android_user on (April 5, 2014, 0:38 GMT)

Kohli... U r the master class @ 25! Keep it up.

Posted by Alexk400 on (April 5, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

Kohli is better than sehwag who i think was very good but kohli wins the game for country , sehwag played for entertainment purposes. Reason is clear , kohli is street fighter , ready to get hands dirty , sehwag on the otherhand just contend with showing of his newly acquired skills than fighting like gladiator. Kohli is probably best batsman india produced especially carrying the team on his shoulders and win for a team. I never like his bat swings but his brain is more sharper than his bat. I mean his bat do not telegraph where the ball goes like sehwag does. it almost like he hit one side ball go other side like javed mianded and salim malik used to confuse indian fielders. He has everything to break sachin records and kohli is 100 times better than sachin when it comes to courage.

Posted by regofpicton on (April 5, 2014, 0:06 GMT)

"Why?" is certainly a valid question. And because cricket lovely cricket is a simple game, the answer is also simple, though you seem closer to that answer than Kohli is himself. He gets in by scoring singles, his speed and understanding with team mates allowing a scatter of twos. When he is "in" his power and precision then allows him to score rapidly without taking undue risks. So he doesn't get out, and just keeps doing the same simple things until the target is reached. What could be more natural?

Of course, just because a task is simple doesn't mean it is easy. Kohli succeeds at these simple tasks because he is the supreme exponent of simplicity. I guess Bradman was a lot like this.

Posted by sweetspot on (April 4, 2014, 23:32 GMT)

The iceman is actually coming of age in this unique fashion because of one and only one very important factor - Dhoni. It is under Dhoni's captaincy that nobody is playing a role alien to them in any way. He is the director that has brought about a story that is told with freedom, fearlessness and the least amount of fuss. It is no wonder that those he keeps faith in deliver with creativity and self belief that what they contribute will be useful and appreciated.

Ashwin has bowled the "dirty overs", Yuvi has been persisted with, and Raina wasn't messing around trying to consolidate his position. Kohli pumped his fist when Raina scored breezily in that one match changing over, celebrating for his teammate that is the only centurion in this format his county has produced but is now happy to simply up the ante with the scoring rate, allowing Kohli to stay and "finish". Ashwin brushes off Mishra's bad day with a smile, and suddenly we realize here is a team that is not easily dented.

Posted by SnowSnake on (April 4, 2014, 23:19 GMT)

The same thing could have been said about Yuvraj Singh in the last match against England. Why is it always Yuvi that saves India? Or sometimes why is it always Dhoni? There has to be someone and when batting line is strong, someone always ends up being a hero. Heros are always made in knockout games. Someone will be a hero in the final.

Posted by crickketlover on (April 4, 2014, 23:12 GMT)

Excellent article! Very well written. Yes, Kohli is becoming one of the most skilled batsmen in the world and at the same time an intelligent cricketer. It is an amazing transformation in him that he is showing everyone that he is the "go to guy" in the Indian team after Tendulkar's retirement. What a great knock!

Posted by wake_up_india on (April 4, 2014, 22:56 GMT)

Finally, a hero who actually wins games for the team. Let's hope he lasts for a long time but, when his time is up, let us not hang on to him but bid him a gracious goodbye and make room for the next Virat.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 22:43 GMT)

wow, a very good article about Kohli....

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (April 4, 2014, 22:39 GMT)

Aggression when converted into strokeplay is more rewarding than when manifested in the form of abuse.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 22:03 GMT)

"Everyone wants to, but he is able to" - That's right!.. The force called Kohli!!

Posted by DarthKetan on (April 4, 2014, 22:01 GMT)

He has to be among (if not the) best batsmen today ACROSS formats - only one in Top 10 of ICC's top batsmen in each format. To imagine that he is going to get better in Tests is such an exciting prospect....let's hope he continues the trajectory. All the Best India ....after the 90s, this phase is such a more under-achievers!

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

Great Great Great Great Player you are the best in the business Mr. Kholi. Respect from Pakistan,

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India v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Apr 6, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
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Sri Lanka v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 3, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 27 runs (D/L method)
Pakistan v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
West Indies won by 84 runs
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