Virat Kohli: A boy among giants?

Published: April 5, 2012

What is remarkable about Kohli's achievements is the fact that he is still at the initial stage of his ODI career. PHOTO: REUTERS

He averages over 50 runs in ODIs, has 11 ODI centuries (10 of which have come in victories), averages over 65 in ODI wins and is only 23-years-old.

Virat Kohli has not even completed four full years in international cricket. Yet, he already has achievements to boast about that some ODI greats haven’t even attained yet.

Kohli has as many ODI centuries as Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, and Aravinda De Silva managed in their entire careers. In addition to this, he has  scored more ODI centuries than Gautam Gambhir, Matthew Hayden, Inzamamul Haq, Kevin Pietersen, Javed Miandad and Dean Jones to name a few.

One can’t even say that he has been bashing the minnows on batting-friendly pitches as he has scored hundreds in one day matches against Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand both at home and away.

What is remarkable about these achievements is the fact that he is still at the initial stage of his ODI career, having established himself as a sure starter in the Indian starting XI just two years ago. The start has been so tremendous that he is currently amongst the only five batsmen in the world who have a 50+ average in ODIs.

Only in a short period of time, Kohli has shown India and the rest of the world what a vital team player he isHe is a proven match winner as can be seen with probably two of the best ODI knocks you will ever see – the 133* (86) against Sri Lanka at Hobart and the 183 (148) against Pakistan at Mirpur.

Both performances came in knock-out games, which Kohli singlehandedly won for India. However, the fact that India still didn’t make it to the finals can be put down to fate – fate that might have deserted the Indian cricket team in recent times, but has been doing wonders for Kohli.

Such is Kohli’s dominance in Indian victories that his batting average increases by 15 runs in matches that India has won. He has the fifth best average among all ODI cricketers in victories, placing him alongside the likes of Brian Lara and Michael Bevan.

All this just makes me wonder what Kohli is capable of achieving by the time he hangs up his boots 15 years from now; the possibilities are endless.

There is no doubt that sustaining this kind of form over 10 to 15 years is something that has only been accomplished by the giants of the game, but who can deny the fact that Virat Kohli is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest players cricket has ever seen?

In an event hosted by Mukesh Ambani to celebrate Sachin Tendulkar’s hundredth hundred, Salman Khan asked Sachin who he thought could break his record and Sachin replied that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were the two people who could. He probably mentioned Rohit too, but only to please his fellow Mumbaiker.

For Kohli, all I can say is – 88 more to go boy.

Thie post originally appeared here

Read more by Umair here, or follow him on Twitter @WellPitched.

 

umair.qazi

Umair Qazi

An investment advisor in Dubai who blogs at www.wellpitched.com/ and tweets @WellPitched

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • hassan

    It’s an axiom in world cricket that anyone who keeps scoring hundreds regularly must be one chasing personal records and has no impact on the result of his team.

    By this reasoning,I think Kohli is playing for just personal records, since he has already scored 11 hundreds in 80 ODIs, most against weak teams like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I am sure he is chasing personal milestones and not playing for his team. He is a flop in test cricket. He scored a test century in Australia and his team still lost. A sure sign that he is chasing records.

    Moreover, see his celebrations, they are disgraceful. And he always slogs. Useless, over-rated player !Recommend

  • Imran

    @hassan

    Axioms are just street myths. Kohli has scored 2 ODI centuries against England and 1 ODI century against Australia. They’re weak teams now? And he has only played 8 test matches. As for celebrations you should have seen Wasim Akram’s celebrations in the 90′s. Apparently if a bowler celebrates it’s fine but if a batsman does the same he’s not being modest.Recommend

  • Ali

    He is good player, nice article.Recommend

  • http://Mumbai Blunt!

    He needs maintain the consistency, dats all! ;)Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    Virat doesn’t have talent of Rohit but, he more than makes up for it in terms of drive and attitude.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    There were many talented players who fell prey to stardom because they lacked the mental strength of a Tendulkar. Take the case of Vinod Kambli, Sachins partner in school who was considered more talented but lost his way. It is very easy to get carried away by success. Hope Virat keeps his balance going forward.Recommend

  • Adeel Syed

    Kohli is an amazing talent but you do not need to do a full-fledged analysis on him. He is not playing for us is he now? I am sure not one single article would have been written in India praising Gul, Ajmal or Amir when they were running through batting line-ups like knife through hot butter. Always respect your opponent but never admire them.Recommend

  • Farah Shadat

    @Adeel Syed: Well said Adeel ! These so called liberals have this fear or kind of inferiority complex from India. You know if Ajmal takes 100 wickets in say just 25 matches. I can bet that there will not be a single article in Indian Press. And you know if Kohli was Pakistani; Indian press would have potrayed him like an untechical, illmanered and disgraceful player (because of his attitude problem).
    Anyways Kohli is certianly a blessing for India; and can be suitable alternate of Tendulkar. But let me clear one thing; these Indians are so much sucked into T20s, IPLs and glamour in cricket. That they can never be a good test cricket team. And at this front Pakistan (Alhamdulillah) is going great. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    All I can say is lets not jinx him..Recommend

  • Tired

    @Adeel Syed:
    Get a life. If someone is capable he should be admired/ praised, no matter whether he is your own countryman, or from elsewhere.
    If others don’t do it, it doesn’t mean you should follow them. We should emulate others’ positive habits, not copy their negative actions. Recommend

  • hassan

    @Adeel Syed:

    Not just in India, but all over the cricketing word, lots of articles have been written about Ajmal and Mohd Amir !

    Michael Holding and Bob Willis can’t stop talking about our great Ajmal. Recommend

  • Zohair

    @ Yuri…i feel Rohit is a tad over rated and Kohli is a much better batsmen both in terms of technique and temperament. he would make a good captain and as he has played with great like Dravid and Tendulkar he must have learned a few tricks from them. he just has to enjoy his game and play naturally and not let this get to his head.

    @ Adeel i disagree as this is sports and Kohli has impressed every one and its a nice effort by the author. Recommend

  • malik

    @Adeel Syed:

    To carry your argument further, it can be safely said that you should respect the talent of other country men and not admire them: Also, we can carry this further:

    1.) You can admire players from other nations provided they belong to Ummah. For ex: Hashim Amla is the greatest batsman; Shakib Ul Hassan is the greatest spinner; Maharoof is the greatest budding all-rounder and better than Angelo Mathews; Usman Khwaja is the next big thing in Australia etc etc. (Wayne Parnell is not picked in SA team because he converted to Islam recently. He is our great advertisement these days.)

    2.) If the person belongs to Ummah, naturally, whatever bad things he does, will have to be either condoned or denied outright. If Afridi bites the ball, it is because he does for the sake of the nation; If Ajmal chucks, it is because of Optical Illusion or a natural defect; If Amir cheats, it is because he is young. (These arguments extend to other spheres as well: Osama was a great Muslim; Gaddafi was a great patriot; Hafiz Saeed is a leading philanthropist; AQ Khan is the leading scientist etc etc.)

    3.) The general thumb rule is: If he is a Muslim, he can do no wrong; And if he is not a muslim, then, he is trying to harm us in some way; either he is maligning us or trying to victimise us or trying to persecute us or trying to humiliate us.

    4.) This rule overrides all above : In some part of world, somewhere, someone, in some manner is trying to harm us and trying to hurt our religious sentiments. Always remember this. Recommend

  • http://www.youtube.com/hachedallic Hashim Malik

    Viv, Greenidge & De Silva played in an era of 15 ODIs an year, whilst the norm for an Indian batter today is no less than 30 an year. Moreover, Inzamam, KP, Miandad and Jones were all “middle order” batsmen and not top orders. Additionally, one may look at their victory-numbers abroad before categorizing Kohli (25) with Lara (90). Lastly and sadly, Kohli will be worn-out by a plethora of IPL and Club Champions League fixtures.Recommend

  • Babar

    @ Author:

    Rubbish article, from start to end you made assumptions and wanted us to believe them. How dare you compare him with Viv and Miadad, and i literraly mean it how dare you.

    Have you ever watched KING VIV play? Have you watched cricket in 70′s and early eighties? i bet you haven’t else you would have never sinned. Never go for stats, they are misleading many atimes. There is a reason why he is rated the best ODI batsman.

    and yea one more thing Tendelkuar called you to let you know he wanted to please his fellow mumbai team mate?Recommend

  • http://www.wellpitched.com Umair Qazi

    @Babar: hahaha.. come meet me and i’ll tell you how I dared. Or maybe I’ll show you depending on my mood. I’ve watched King Viv and Miandad in their prime.. in fact just last night I was watching King Viv’s 181 against Sri Lanka.. maybe I should send you a copy of that innings.. you can then compare Kohli’s 183 against Pakistan to that. The comparison is an interesting task. do it.

    As for the comparisons I made.. well it was a mere mention of where Kohli stands today in order to speculate where he could end up… time will tell us about that.. for now I’d suggest that you let your emotional state regarding Viv Richards and Javed Miandad take a back seat an enjoy the sensation that Kohli is.

    As for Sachin calling me… you really don’t want to know.Recommend

  • http://www.wellpitched.com Umair Qazi

    @Hashim Malik: Point well made sir… But I disagree that Inzi, KP, and Dean Jones were middle order bats.. Inzi batted at number 3 for Pakistan for a long time.. throughout the mid 90s.. for 4-5 years atleast before he moved down to number 4.. KP has now started to open in ODIs and he’s batted at 3 many times.. and Jones was a number 3 for Australia.

    As for Kohli being worn out.. lets wait and watch.. this article is as speculative as your comment.Recommend

  • Babar

    @ umair qazi:

    Nah i really want to know what sachin told you over the phone..

    btw on a serious note, just check out the quality of 189* against england when no body ever thought anyone would score above 150. and that score remain intact for many years until field restrictions came in and other laws were modified too. Recommend

  • http://www.youtube.com/hachedallic Hashim Malik

    @Umair Qazi,

    there’s a thing called calculated speculation. it was just that ‘sir’.

    rest, Inzamam and KP played 80% & 73% of their innings at no 4 or below so here numbers disagree with your ‘speculation’ :-)Recommend

  • http://www.wellpitched.com Umair Qazi

    @Hashim Malik: Inzamam has opened or playedt at 3 in 73 innings in ODIs.. averages just under 40.. 4 centuries and 18 50s.. is this a comparable stat to Kohli’s career stats? Recommend

  • http://www.wellpitched.com Umair Qazi

    @Babar: I remember that innings.. watched it much later than 1984 ofcourse.. was a classic.. and I think it ranks among the top 3 ODI innings ever.. probably even the best.

    As for Sachin, read the original post as well and you’ll know what I mean… Recommend

  • http://www.youtube.com/hachedallic Hashim Malik

    Umair Qazi,

    picking and chewing isolated numbers to suit one’s own argument is an old electronic escape route.Recommend

  • http://www.wellpitched.com Umair Qazi

    @Hashim Malik: Sir, I think you are escaping the question.. not isolated stats at all, discussing your statement with facts, thats all.Recommend

  • Babar

    anyways did you watch Rohit play last night? He was phenominal. He is more quality than his Delhi team mate… Hope he become consistent too like the latter one.

    Anyways coming back to your article, virat is consistent but he is more selfish than anyother indian batsman who plays for himself… and please ignore his last two hundreds and you will realise why i am saying this…. he also needs to work on his attitude and be more professional. Last but not the least he is a bubble waiting to explode… Recommend

  • http://www.wellpitched.com Umair Qazi

    @Babar: sadly missed out on Rohit’s innings but I just read about it.. 19 runs of the final over and a 6 off the final delivery to nail it.. awesome stuff. But then again Rohit has always been an IPL wonder. Has hardly done anything of note on the international front.. Raina and Kohli have had more success in ODIs and Tests in comparison.

    I believe Kohli will go on to become one of the best in the business… we’ll wait and see if he’s a bubble or the real deal…Recommend

  • Mahi

    @Anoop:
    LOL!Recommend