Virat Kohli is aggressive and he is often termed arrogant by cricket pundits. However, Virat Kohli is at his brutal best when on the field, and then his bat does all the talking.
Cricket is more than a sport in this 1.3 billion-population strong country. Jam-packed stadiums and relentless media coverage puts a cricketer under immense scrutiny. Each game is witnessed by fans with excitement as they want to enjoy a sound sleep after cherishing their team’s win. With such trust bestowed on our cricketers, pressure is at an all-time high. And the Delhi lad has proved time and again why he is the best bet for Men in Blue such situations. As he turns 28, we take a look at moments when he pulled out India from whirlpool.
Showing Aussies the door: Chasing a steep target of 161 to make it to the semifinal of ICC World T20, India are struggling early at 37/2. The spectators in Mohali stare at the field in stunned silence as Kohli walks in. After a slow start, he wastes no time in changing gears as the Aussies are left clueless. With 43 needed off the last three overs, Kohli carts all-rounder James Faulkner for 18 runs and then Nathan Coulter-Nile is smashed for four consecutive fours to seal the fate.
It’s always special: There is no doubt that an India-Pakistan match is made in heaven. This year’s World T20 encounter between the arch-rivals at the Eden Gardens was no different. Put into bat, Pakistan set the home side a target of 119 in a rain-hit match. After a brisk start, India soon found themselves struggling at 23/3 thanks to some lethal bowling by Mohammad Amir. However, destiny had something else in store. Kohli stitched together a crucial 61-run partnership with Yuvraj Singh as he took on the fiery pace quartet without losing his cool. Kohli raced to his fifty in style, and just look at him how he acknowledged after he achieved the feat. Afridi & Co were clueless to his strokeplay.
What struck us!: When you pile up a score of 329 in a crucial match, it is quite obvious that the road to victory will not be difficult enough. In 2012 Asia Cup, Pakistan were in the same situation. Mohammad Hafeez triggered jubilation in the Pakistani camp after trapping opener Gautam Gambhir leg-before for a duck in the second ball of the innings. But things did not turn out as they had expected. Kohli came into bat and pressed the accelerator on the word go. Be it Umar Gul or Wahab Riaz, nobody was spared from his onslaught. Not only did he score his highest ODI individual score of 183, but put India on track for an emphatic victory in Dhaka after a poor start.
Kangaroos take notice: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and put Australia to bat in the second ODI at Visakhapatnam in 2010. Soon, his decision seemed to backfire after his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke scored an unbeaten 111 and with able contributions from Michael Hussey and Cameron White, helped the visitors amass 289/3. The hosts had a poor start when Shikhar Dhawan was out for a duck and Murali Vijay did not trouble the scorers much. But Kohli was in no mood to buckle under pressure. He kept his nerves intact, cobbling crucial partnerships with Yuvraj Singh and then Suresh Raina, at the same time bringing up his third ODI hundred. Although he fell 34 runs short of the target, but his efforts did not go waste.
Monster in the making: What would you do if two frontline batsmen with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag fall early in a mountainous chase of 317? In 2009, Kohli showed signs of what he was about to become in future when he struck his maiden ODI hundred. A 107-run knock involved a match-winning 224-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir who was unbeaten on 150. The innings will be remembered as one of Virat’s finest.
Isn’t Kohli the ultimate Cool cricketer?