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HindustanTimes Fri,21 Nov 2014

Cricket

Virat Kohli: bringing brute and beauty together
Khurram Habib , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 01, 2013
First Published: 01:08 IST(1/11/2013)
Last Updated: 12:07 IST(1/11/2013)
Indian batsman Virat Kohli plays a shot during their 6th ODI cricket match against Australia in Nagpur. (PTI Photo)

During the 2011 World Cup, former India spinner Maninder Singh described young Virat Kohli as a refined version of Virender Sehwag. The former Delhi skipper essentially meant that while one was all instinct and savagery, the other has brought in beauty to match his power and instinct.

The way Virat has been destroying the opposition since the World Cup, he promises to herald a new golden era in Indian batting with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan, and he is also expected to fit into the No 4 Test slot Sachin Tendulkar will soon vacate.

But for now consider these stats: He is just 112 ODIs old but is next only to Tendulkar when it comes to scoring hundreds in successful run chases. While Tendulkar has 14 centuries in successful chases in 127 ODIs, Kohli already has 11 in 46 games!

"He is one of the few youngsters who have learnt from Dravid, Tendulkar, Sehwag and Laxman. After his initial failures, he has really pulled up his socks and he has studied the bowlers and rules and how to use them," says Maninder.

Own prediction
Ahead of this India-Australia series, Virat had told his coach Rajkumar Sharma that he would get three hundreds. He has got two with one more ODI to go on Saturday. Sharma reminds you that in the third ODI at Mohali, where Virat made 68, he fell to a soft dismissal.

"That would have been his second and he would have easily completed his target on Wednesday," says Sharma, explaining his ward's penchant for taking up challenges.

Sharma had a word with Virat on Thursday and the batsman told him, "Do to ho gaye hain, ek aur banaunga (I have already got two, will score one more)."

Sharma said: "He is more focused chasing big totals. When he is provoked, he always likes to give it back."

Focus matters
Former India opener Chetan Chauhan, who had backed Virat when he was drafted in the Delhi squad, said: "Both Shikhar and Virat never missed practice sessions for Delhi. They didn't while away their time. The best thing is that he is improving and converting 50s and 60s into big hundreds. His confidence level is very high."

Virat's older brother, Vikas, says, "With every success, expectations and pressure are bound to go up. What we do is to ensure we keep all cricket talk off him when he is at home. It helps him to relax. There was a period when he was struggling with some technical issues but now he has overcome that. He also realises the importance of staying focused."

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