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Reaching new heights

T here can be few more exciting sights in cricket than watching Indian captain Virat ...

Reaching new heights

here can be few more exciting sights in cricket than watching Indian captain Virat Kohli bat at his best and whenever he does, the spectators, especially in his homeland, are on their feet. He has reached a stage that others can only dream of. He is the best batsman of modern era in all formats of the game.

He is breaking records and setting new trends of classical batting with every series. He is always ready to perform against any opponent and anywhere in the world.

In the third ODI against South Africa in Cape Town last week, Kohli scored his 34th century in his 205th One-day International. Now he is just behind former Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 49 hundreds in 463 matches.

The hundred in the third ODI was Kohli’s 12th as captain. He surpassed former captain Sourav Ganguly’s 11 centuries as Indian captain. Kohli has achieved the feat in 100 innings fewer than Ganguly. He has done it in only 43 innings. Now only two batsmen — former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting with 22 centuries in 220 innings and South African captain AB de Villiers with 13 in 98 — have more centuries as captain than Kohli.

Kohli is the only batsmen in the international circuit who has over 50 average in all three international formats. His averages are 53.40, 57.34 and 52.86 in Test, ODI and Twenty20 International matches, respectively.

The 30-year-old is the sixth Indian batsman to score over 9000 runs in ODIs. The other five are Sachin, Rahul Dravid, Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

After the retirement of Sachin, it was assumed that the replacement of the Little Master would take a long time. But Kohli filled in the space very quickly and efficiently.

Statistically, Kohli is ahead of the Little Master. In recent times, India have won most of their matches, especially one-day and Twenty20, due to their solid and long batting line-up and Kohli is the backbone of it.

Former Indian captain Dhoni thinks that Kohli and his current team will win more matches than him in all the formats and that his team will rewrite history and become the most successful Indian team.

After the ICC World Twenty20, former Indian captain Ganguly rated Kohli better than Sachin as far as chasing targets was concerned.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar once said, “To become a good player, you need talent, but to become a great player, you need an attitude like Virat Kohli.”

During the 2013 series against Australia, he slammed a 52-ball 100 to help chase down 360 in Jaipur. In the same series, in Nagpur, Kohli slammed 115 to help India chase down 351.

Last year in 2017, Kohli scored 1460 runs in just 26 ODIs, averaging 76.84 with six hundred and seven fifties.

He scored 1381 in 2011, 1026 in 2012, 1268 in 2013, 1054 in 2014, 623 in 2015 and 739 in 2016.

Kohli’s overall ODI average is 57.34 in 205 appearances, but while chasing his average goes up to 66.38 and rises to 95.04 in successful chases.

Not only is he a fantastic batsman, Kohli is also a good human being. Recently he sent a special message to Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar who has opened a restaurant. In the video message, Kohli said: “Hello Aleem Bhai I have heard that you have opened up a new restaurant… many congratulations on that. I wish that your restaurant becomes just as successful as you are an umpire.”

Kohli lauded Dar’s intentions of starting a school for deaf children through the restaurant’s earnings. “I have also heard that you want to make a school for deaf children through the earnings of this restaurant so I hope that you accomplish what you want to accomplish. I encourage everyone to go and try his restaurant,” Kohli added.

During India’s tour of West Indies in 2017, Kohli had famously sent a video message for Dar’s son Hassan, who had sent out a video to his idol through his father, who was among the team of umpires officiating in that series.

If Kohli plays for 8-10 years more, he can set many batting records that could be difficult to break for a long time. 

Khurram Mahmood

Khurram Mahmood 2019

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