Happy Birthday Virat Kohli – Tracing Success Of India’s Run Machine
When in the year 1987, Sunil Gavaskar retired from international cricket; the cricket fraternity seemed quite dejected. Gavaskar was the God for them, the ultimate hero they used to worship Gavaskar just like people of our generation used to worship Sachin Tendulkar. The same was the status of Sunil Gavaskar what Tendulkar enjoyed. If Gavaskar was out, means the match was over. Television were switched off. Gavaskar out means the end of the road for the Indian team. Gavaskar out means you can continue your work now. The impact of Gavaskar could be estimated by the fact that when V.V.S. Laxman during his innings of 281 eclipsed Gavaskar’s record of 236, then the old journalists present in the press box were saddened by this fact that Gavaskar’s record has been broken. This was the impact of Sunil Gavaskar.
Then came the era of Sachin Tendulkar, he soon filled in the boots of Gavaskar and people started calling him the ‘Master Blaster’, a rank higher than the little master, the name by which people used to call Sunil Gavaskar. When Gavaskar retired from cricket, people said there will never be another like him and that seemed to be correct at that time as we did not have any other prospect ready to replace him. Sachin Tendulkar came two years later and took his time to settle in international cricket but yes, he was the perfect replacement for him and he surpassed all records of Gavaskar.
On November 16, 2013 when Sachin Tendulkar was experiencing his last day in international cricket, the same were the thoughts in our minds that there will never be another Sachin Tendulkar but that day and today, Virat Kohli has taken over pretty well from Sachin Tendulkar and has been rated above him by many due to his aptness and dexterity. Now he is even called as the successor of the Little Master.
The aggression, possession, compassion with which he plays the game reminds many of young Tendulkar when he used to carry the team on his shoulders alone.
Virat Kohli took close to three years to establish himself in international cricket, 2011 being the year when he fully transmuted himself into an international player as he learnt the art of playing according to team’s demand. It is very much evident from the fact that he was the highest run-scorer of the calendar year 2011 as he pummeled a total of 1381 runs in that year.
When India had to chase a mammoth 321 in 40 overs against Sri Lanka in 2012 in order to reach the Tri-Series final, it was Virat Kohli who showed the promise and manhandled Lasith Malinga’s, scoring 44 runs in 15 balls he played against him. The 24-run over reminded us of the day when Sachin Tendulkar smacked Pakistan Abdul Qadir the same way.
From that day, Virat Kohli transformed. Once a hot headed guy turned into a responsible player, a vice-captaincy in ODI cricket followed which added more power and responsibility on his shoulders.
Soon, he with his performances, especially, in chases, attracted all the attention towards him and cricket pundits started rating him as best cricketer of the era. Well, a big comment but it matches with the stature of Virat Kohli. He underwent a drastic change is his batting, attitude and the way he used to play.
He does not gift or his wicket away and that is the difference between a proficient batsman and a normal batsman. People say Rohit Sharma is talented, yes he is talented more than Virat has but the thing is he have never been able to change his attitude towards the game what seems from outside. He is the same player what he was when he came to international cricket in the year 2007. It looks like he loves to be in his comfort zone. If anyone tinkers with it, then he cannot survive. That’s the difference.
Kohli is the master of chases, big chases. Hold your breath as a stat is on the way to attack you as you will dumbstruck to know that Virat averages 90.10 with the bat when deployed to chase a target. This average in modern day cricket, can anyone ask for something more?
The century in the third ODI against New Zealand was his 26th in ODIs in just 166 innings. Hold your breath again, Sanath Jayasuriya took a total of 402 innings to score this much century, Ricky Ponting took 286, Sachin Tendulkar 247 and Virat just 166. Out of this, 16 centuries have come in chases, 14 in a winning cause. That tells us that how much Virat Kohli matters to team India.
Virat owns many records and is on the way to break other records as well. Let’s make an early prediction that if he is able to bat at such pace for at least 12-15 years more, what can be the records that he can break in future? Here are few of the strong guesses –
Looking at his habit of scoring centuries at regular intervals, it is confirmed that he will eclipse Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most centuries in ODI cricket. Sachin has 49 tons under his belt, Virat may finish with about 65-70 tons when he retires. I am not saying this, but his numbers are shouting loud.
If he plays as many matches as Sachin Tendulkar, he will emerge as the highest run-scorer in ODI cricket.
He might touch the magical figures of 20,000-run mark in ODIs.=.
If he bats at the current pace, then he can easily eclipse the record of most half centuries and most 50+ scores in ODI cricket.
Though Virat Kohli is yet to earn that much faith in Test cricket but if he has to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 international centuries, he needs to continue his ODI form in Test as well. He is on the right track as has gained his form in this format as well. Though he may not equal Tendulkar’s record in Test cricket but yes he’ll will score enough centuries to cross the 100 tons mark combined.
Though a tough record but if he captain’s the team for ten more years, he may become the player to lead the team in most Test matches breaking the record of Graeme Smith who led South Africa in 109 games.
The pace at which he is playing T20 cricket, it seems like that when he retires, he will end up as highest scorer in this format and will own the record for many years to come.
These are only a few of the records which Virat can break, he will surely wear many more records but for that, he has to bat at the current pace for long.
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