Virat Kohli smile must have got broader again.
First, it was India’s great comeback victory against England in the Third Test and now being ranked the No 1 batsman in the world by the ICC.
Even the Brits, often very grudging against Asian batsmen, have saluted the Indian captain. Everybody likes a hero and Kohli stood like a colossus amidst the ruins of his team in the first two Tests.
India’s turnaround in the third encounter would not have happened if Kohli hadn’t scored 97 and 103 in the Test. That gave his bowlers ample runs to play with.
Back in July, Kohli must have been apprehensive. England was one bastion which he had not conquered. His last tour was miserable to say the least.
He suddenly had this weakness outside the off stump which was exploited by England’s bowlers, particularly Jimmy Anderson. He gave the slips catching practice and the many critics, both home and abroad, started questioning his worth as a batsman.
Frankly, many of them were jealous that this young man had such a great ability to score. Suddenly former Indian cricketers with a bee in their bonnet and critics, who never played, began to offer theories on how to handle the swinging ball.
But the ability to learn quickly and implement is what separates a great cricketer from a good one.
Any game is all about practising hard to iron our errors and Kohli did just that. Hours in the nets helped him to get over the technical flaw and though slightly nervous, he came good in the first Test itself where he scored more than he had done in the entire tour last time.
Judging by current form and playing conditions, Kohli deserves to be right there at the top. Of course, the Aussie loudmouths are claiming that their captain Steve Smith fell in the ranking to second spot due to his one-year ban from top-level cricket.
That’s nonsense. Forget figures and check the conditions under which Kohli played. By the end of the third Test, he is the highest run-getter on either side, getting 440 runs already.
These were scored in seaming conditions where the bowlers always had the upper hand.
Some may say that many of his runs also came in home conditions. That is a stupid argument as most cricketers will shine at home including Smith.
Kohli also won praise from former Australian captain Greg Chappell, one of the most hated personalities in India. That itself is a great achievement. This current England tour has revealed a new side of him. He is willing to grind it out if the need arises. This aspect puts him among the best batsmen of all times.
Today, an England coach is telling his batsmen to learn from Kohli on how to tackle a situation. He is an inspiration to many players in the world who openly acknowledge his greatness.
Kohli has climbed the ladder of success quickly and now is among the greats. The future is exciting for him and where he will end up is something to look forward to.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.