ICC Champions Trophy: Virat Kohli and his art of living cricket to the fullest | icc-champions-trophy-2017 | Hindustan Times
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ICC Champions Trophy: Virat Kohli and his art of living cricket to the fullest

Virat Kohli sacrificed a century against Bangladesh in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final in Birmingham and he never complained.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 16, 2017 22:38 IST
Soumitra Bose
Virat Kohli has been instrumental in taking India to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 where they will take on arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday.
Virat Kohli has been instrumental in taking India to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 where they will take on arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday.(Reuters)

Virat Kohli’s growing stature as captain is coming to the fore with every passing day in international cricket. Unlike many Indian skippers, Kohli is enjoying the art of giving and deriving pleasure from the success of others.

India’s emphatic win against Bangladesh in the ICC Champions Trophy semifinal in Birmingham on Thursday was another example of Virat Kohli preferring to live in the shadows of a prolific partner stroking the ball with gay abandon. How nonchalantly Kohli gave up scoring what would have been his 28th ODI ton. How many international batsmen would do that?

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“Well, it’s not been difficult at all. I’m really enjoying the way I’m batting. For me, the number of runs does not matter at this stage. I’m really enjoying the process, and something which is, you know, giving me joy,” said Kohli.

“So I’m pretty happy getting the team across the line, honestly. It doesn’t matter if it’s three figures or two or even one. I want to apply myself in any situation possible,” the captain said when asked about his less glamorous approach.

It was perhaps poetic justice that Kohli smashed the winning four against Bangladesh. His 78-ball 96 was no less classy but Kohli let Rohit Sharma have the bigger share of the fun as Bangladesh bowlers were caught like a deer in the headlights.

READ | Virat Kohli’s ‘Tongue’-in-cheek gesture vs Bangladesh sets social media abuzz

On Thursday, Kohli became the fastest man to score 8,000 ODI runs. The 28-year-old took all of 175 innings to get to this landmark, eight fewer than South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

There are other signs of the captain’s growing stature. The 28-year-old’s communication with players is fast improving and if that means giving young Jasprit Bumrah a piece of his mind for bowling loose balls, the captain doesn’t mind being a tad more expressive.

Kohli’s respect for his ‘priceless’ predecessor MS Dhoni is there to see. Senior cricket writers can’t recall when a captain has been so forthcoming of his senior in almost every media conference.

Kohli’s revelation that Dhoni played a hand in introducing Kedar Jadhav when Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim looked inseparable, underlines the captain’s honesty.

READ | Virat Kohli continues supreme ODI form, becomes fastest to 8000 runs

When a captain makes every member of his team feel important, is smart to react to situations and positively aggressive in approach, he is bound to be a team’s delight. Kohli has most of these qualities and more importantly, remains level-headed despite his enormous success.

Not one to put the cart before the horse, Kohli accepts cricket is a funny and cruel game. He refuses to accept that India are the fancied side going into Sunday’s final.

“No one is a winner beforehand, and you can’t predict anything in this game. We’ve seen some really surprising results, and it’s been amazing for the fans to watch and for the players to be a part of, as well.

“We just want to enjoy the finals and we deserve to be there. It doesn’t matter whether we win by nine wickets or we win by one wicket. We’re just going to go there and try to do the same things again and again. Be boring as a team, and hopefully the results will come.”

Fingers crossed.