IPL: In T20, Virat breaks convention of improvised strokes

  • Khurram Habib, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 19, 2016 12:52 IST
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli has shown that ramp shots or scoops is not the only mantra to make runs in Twenty20. (AFP)

In an era, when ludicrous and audacious T20 shots abound, Virat Kohli’s success in the format with conventional strokes is against the norm.

That he has managed to score runs with no aid of scoop, ramp shots or some fancy reverse or switch hits, makes his success at the shortest format hard to believe.

If anything, his success thumbs its nose at those who believe that for success in T20, you have to go unconventional or that this format is not a purists’ delight.

Last night’s innings against a weak Kings XI Punjab bowling line-up was again a masterclass where the RCB skipper played all the shots in the book, maybe deviating just a little, and got enormous success. Record four centuries, standing on the cusp of 1000 runs – all in a single edition calls for a great amount of hunger.

“More than anything, I think it is his self-belief that sets him apart. He has got tremendous amount of self-belief. He knows his strength, he believes in them and he uses them to the optimum,” says former India cricketer and now an analyst, Maninder Singh.

“I read somewhere something on the lines of “To succeed you need to have the skill and the will. But the will needs to be stronger than the skill”. Virat embodies this.”

Quite surely, there are players who are more talented than him. Someone like AB de Villiers defies the laws of elasticity, getting into any position to play any delivery and get boundaries.

“When you drive too fast, you have greater chances of meeting accidents. I think, unlike AB, Virat is like a safe driver, but one who has excellent control of the wheel and who knows the various ways to overcome blockages,” the former India left-arm spinner cites an analogy.

Right from the childhood, supreme confidence has defined Kohli. His career is full of knocks that have helped his sides win games from almost nowhere. When he flopped in England in 2014 during the Test series, it was more a case of technical weakness for which he had no answer.

“Even to date he avoids playing those shots because that have been his weakness,” his long time coach Raj Kumar Sharma said in a chat last year.

Otherwise, it seems that he is in the Sachin Tendulkar mould, having at least a couple of shots for every delivery and importantly, he seems to have belief that these copybook shots alone can deliver.

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