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Future perfect: Kohli's new attitude is all about winning

The tattoo on his left shoulder suggests Virat Kohli is another youngster with a wild streak. Scratch beneath the surface and it indicates a leader among a new breed of Indian players who realise playing cricket for India is serious business and are willing to cut out all distractions. N Ananthanarayanan writes. Virat factfile

cricket Updated: Jun 10, 2011 02:07 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

The tattoo on his left shoulder suggests Virat Kohli is another youngster with a wild streak.

Scratch beneath the surface and it indicates a leader among a new breed of Indian players who realise playing cricket for India is serious business and are willing to cut out all distractions.

The Delhi top-order batsman's talent was never in question. He proved his leadership early, captaining the U-19 World Cup-winning side. His passion for the game showed when he turned up to save Delhi in a Ranji tie after his father's death and then rushed home for the last rites.

Focussed

Still, Kohli, like the equally talented batsman Rohit Sharma, was criticised for his poor attitude. On Wednesday, he kept his focus despite rival skipper Darren Sammy dropping a sharp chance and rain breaks — big and small — to guide India home at the Queen's Park Oval.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/100611/10_06_11-metro-20b.jpg

Kohli, who tasted the high of the World Cup victory in April, is candid about his attitude issues after he burst into the India side as a 19-year-old in 2008. In the Caribbean, with many seniors missing, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and skipper Suresh Raina, all young but experienced, are the new
leaders.

"Before coming here, we knew only a few batsmen were playing regularly. That meant, we had to step up and take responsibility," he said after Wednesday's knock at the Queen's Park Oval.

The absence of the seniors is an opportunity to be taken with both hands. "You learn how to play when expectations are high, and when you end up performing, you feel confident. It is a new experience for us.

"There is a big change in the way the youngsters have started thinking in the Indian team. They want the pressure situations, they want to step up and prove themselves in every game. That is what has been the key to our success in one-day cricket in the last two-and-half years."

ODI is a better test

Such maturity prevents the likes of Kohli from being satisfied with IPL success.

"The Indian Premier League can make you mentally tough, but there you can get away playing fancy shots because you have to score eight-nine runs an over. But in One-day Internationals, a rash shot can put the team in a spot of bother."