Dubai: India batsman Virat Kohli is already being talked about as the next Sachin Tendulkar. Although Kohli may not have the strong qualities of Tendulkar, his prolific run-getting ability makes him the strongest candidate to fill the void.
To compare the 25-year-old Kohli with 40-year-old Tendulkar is absurd, but it would be worthwhile to study what makes the younger man the best among the Team India batsmen.
In one-day cricket, he has proved his ability as a blaster of any bowling attack. He crossed the 5,000-run mark in his 114th one-day innings, equalling Sir Viv Richards’s record of being the fastest to reach this mark in ODIs.
He has scored 17 centuries in 118 ODIs, becoming the fastest player to score this amount, 58 fewer than former India captain Sourav Ganguly. Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar is the next quickest batsman to hit 17 ODI hundreds, but he took 177 innings.
In October, through his 52-ball 100 against Australia, he set an Indian record for the quickest century in ODIs and the seventh quickest in One-Day Internationals. By hitting more than 1,000 runs in three consecutive years, he has joined Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to have done it. So what are five traits that make him a class batsman and will he be able to maintain expectations and fame that are awaiting him?
Kohli is one of the most aggressive batsmen in the game today. He can trash the deadliest of bowlers with hardly any effort. The way he can dominate the bowling makes batting look easy and provides a boost for his batting partners to gain in confidence. The ability to pick the right ball to hit and to leave the dangerous one alone is a trait which makes him stand out from the rest. Though he cannot project himself as a calm person, he has a cool temperament while handling different types of bowlers. To stay calm is a quality he is trying to learn from his skipper Dhoni.
Kohli’s concentration is special. Once he settles down at the crease, it is very difficult to unsettle him because it seems like he improves his confidence with every passing over. To develop this quality from such a young age can help him in the long run. He possesses excellent footwork and his concentration adds to a fine display of strokes.
Already some of his strokes are being hailed as breathtaking and this has a lot to do with his footwork and timing. Though he hasn’t yet acquired the balance which Tendulkar possessed, he makes up for this with his judgement to pick the right ball to be punished.
Kohli may perhaps possess the best stamina among all the players of his age in international cricket. This quality makes his batting look effortless. His stamina also helps him to convert singles into doubles and that makes him looks fresh and calm even after his 50s or hundreds even in hot and humid conditions.
His keenness to improve his fitness has also made him an outstanding fielder. His reflexes are so brilliant that rarely has one seen him drop any catches. His stamina and agility make him a fine cricketer for all versions of the game in all conditions.
A quick learner
Kohli’s biggest qualities are his ability to understand his flaws and his determination to forget his negative traits. He has quickly learned from his seniors about the ability to convert 50s into centuries. He is already being talked about as the man to break Tendulkar’s record for the highest number of centuries in one-day cricket because in 118 matches he has already scored 17 centuries.
In the same number of matches, Tendulkar had scored only eight centuries. Through interaction with players such as Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, with whom he shared a dressing room immediately on breaking into international cricket, he has learned to shape his technique according to the situation.
Special body language
Kohli possess a body language which portrays confidence and aggression. This has helped him take up challenges even when the situation has been tough. His bravery and daring approach have won many matches for India, though his aggression sometimes has slipped into a display of arrogance.
As he was lucky to have rubbed shoulders with the best Indian players from a very young age, he has matured fast with every year. He gives the impression of being a warrior out to conquer and has been winning fans and sponsors through this trait. He is being seen as the symbol of a new generation cricketers.