Five things Virat Kohli did right to reach the top of cricket charts

  • Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: May 19, 2016 16:22 IST
Virat Kohli has racked up 11 scores of 75 and above so far this year in Twenty20 matches. (AFP)

Seizing the momentum

Even the greatest batsmen haven’t been able to seize the momentum as well as Virat Kohli. His T20 run of 11 scores of 75 and above this year is the equivalent of Mohammad Azharuddin slamming three Test centuries in a row on debut or Mark Waugh’s ODI record of three centuries in the 1996 World Cup. Kohli described the feeling best. “My main aim is to get runs, it doesn’t matter how I play. Momentum is a big thing in T20s, when you get into the zone, you feel you can hit any ball,” he said after Wednesday’s match.

Respecting the conditions and bowling

Three different matches and Kohli has come up with three different methods of batting. Against Gujarat Lions, he played second fiddle to AB de Villiers almost throughout the innings. On Wednesday, he didn’t let go off the strike because of the ease with which he was getting fours and sixes. And against KKR he struck a balance between playing the anchor’s role and going after the bowlers. The size of the ground and quality of bowling too reflected in his innings.Wednesday’s innings came at a strike rate of 226 while the century before that came at a shade under 199. Kolkata’s innings however came at 147.

Absolute control over technique

Kohli doesn’t dabble in over-the-top shots. He doesn’t have a particular ramp or scoop shot. Neither does he move around the crease too much like teammate AB de Villiers. A steady head, strong arms and authoritative footwork is the secret to his success. He won’t try out any shot he doesn’t have full faith in. And he doesn’t need to as well. Kohli is the perfect example of the success that can come one’s way by sticking to the most basic shots in the cricket manual. Kohli’s bread and butter shot is the cover drive but he is equally good at flicking, glancing or whipping the ball off his legs.

Not watching other games

A mind not clouted by equations, net run rate and how other teams are doing is the best equipped to take on any situation. After a disappointing start, Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore were set a stiff target -- win the last four games or bow out of the race for the playoffs. The terms were absolute and actually made his job easier. “We wanted four in four, we now have three in three. So there’s no reason why we can’t win. We have got to that stage, where we have stopped thinking about other teams. We are just relaxed,” said Kohli after Wednesday’s match.

Fitness of champions

In all the three matches RCB have won in a row, Kohli has been the common denominator, scoring 113, 75* and 109 so far. It roughly means that apart from fielding in all the 52.4 overs RCB have bowled in those three matches, Kohli has also batted in 52.4 out of the 53.4 overs RCB have batted. To be on top of one’s game throughout that long a period as a batsman and then come back to field, almost always at long-off, and lead the team needs concentration and the fitness of champions. Yuzvendra Chahal said after the match how Kohli has been focusing on his fitness at the gym. “He is still so fit after scoring four hundreds. That tells you the story,” said Chahal.

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