Overs 1.2 - Virat Kohli - The Cricketing Warrior
Last night Indian captain Virat Kohli went past 10000 runs in one-day international cricket. He reached the milestone in only 205 innings. Absolutely ridiculous! To put this into perspective, India's greatest ever batsman, Sachin Tendulkar reached the 10000 runs in 259 innings. But these superhuman numbers and Kohli's batsman-ship is not the biggest ingredient for my fascination and admiration for him. It is the super-natural drive and the unbreakable mental fortitude that paints him, in my eyes, as a modern-day warrior. A warrior's character traits include leadership, discipline, and most importantly an undying love for the fight. Love him or hate him, you cannot help but respect him.
Since his early days, Kohli had been earmarked as a leader. In 2008 Kohli led India to under-19 World Cup glory. Ten years on, the consistency, intensity and hunger are still burning. The pressure that is on his shoulders as the Indian captain and the kingpin of their batting line-up is unfathomable. Kohli has however taken this responsibility as an opportunity to get the best out of him and the team. Kohli has lost only nine tests of the 42 he has captained, four of those coming in the recent series against England. Even though his captaincy has room for improvement, Kohli's batting has been a demonstration of "leading from the front". As captain Kohli has scored over 7500 runs across all formats for India in just over 130 innings. Sourav Ganguly, former Indian captain and probably the first pioneer of India playing the attacking brand of cricket they are playing today, has provided high acclaim for Kohli's leadership. "Kohli ... is such a fantastic leader. He creates a team, he builds a team and he takes everyone along," Ganguly said.
Any successful sportsperson will admit that whilst talent is important, discipline and hard work are more precious. Earlier this year, Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun stressed the importance of Kohli's preparation and attention to detail as his recipe for success. Arun emphasised that Kohli's fitness, game preparation and skills should be a source of motivation for any cricketer. If you follow Kohli's Instagram, which I unashamedly do, you will appreciate his commitment to fitness. They say that hard work will get you to the summit, but discipline is what keeps you there. Kohli's relentless work ethic has consolidated his position as the most valuable player in cricket.
Kohli's love for a fight is evident in his astonishing record whilst chasing down a total. He has reeled in totals with meticulous timing and interminable patience. Kohli has 20 successful centuries in just75 innings and averaging almost a 100. Personally, the most impressive indicator of Kohli's combative nature was his performance in England this year. In 2014, Kohli performed poorly with the bat averaging 13.5 in ten innings which was universally criticised. As if to prove a point to himself and his greatness, Kohli amassed 593 runs in the five tests which were almost 250 runs more than the next best in Jos Buttler.
There is much more that defines Virat Kohli. But one thing is for certain. Virat Kohli is a warrior. Period!