The day one Kohli was worth an entire army

On Tuesday, Kohli gave a further glimpse of the maturity that has already seen him earn the tag of future India captain. Rohit Bhaskar reports.

india Updated: May 25, 2011 00:51 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Chris Gayle had failed only once before in this campaign, against the Kings XI Punjab exactly a week ago. Without the powerful Jamaican setting the tone at the top of the order, RCB succumbed to a meek defeat as the batsmen fell like nine-pins. Virat Kohli was the captain on that day, and maintained that RCB were more than just a "one-man army".

On Tuesday, Kohli showed exactly what he meant that day in Dharamsala, hitting a 44-ball 70 against defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

For the first three seasons, the IPL was nothing more than an extended two-month party for Kohli. The former India U-19 captain failed to live up to his immense potential, and with a host of experienced players ahead of him, hardly got the chance to showcase his skill with the bat.

His figures in the IPL were nothing much to write home about, but his upside was off the charts. The management of the Royal Challengers kept faith in the promise he'd displayed and the Delhi youngster was the only player they retained during the IPL 4 mega auction - a huge compliment for a player so young.

It was a clear sign from the management - Kohli was the future. Even they wouldn't have expected to reap the dividends of that investment this early.

In the last year, Kohli has come of age. He's become a key member of India's world champion ODI team, he's also become a vital cog in the RCB bandwagon.

Batting at one-drop, captaining the team in Daniel Vettori's absence, and even rolling his arm over more often, Kohli's not only loving his new role as the go-to-guy, but also embracing it whole-heartedly.

On Tuesday, Kohli gave a further glimpse of the maturity that has already seen him earn the tag of future India captain. The cherry on the cake was doing it in front of a man who knows all about grace under pressure - MS Dhoni.

Kohli has stated that his ultimate goal is to play for India at the Test level. He might get that chance when India tour England this summer. Three of India's greatest batsmen of recent past - Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid announced their elevation to the big stage with stunning debut series in England. Kohli could be the next to join that list.

And unlike the others on that list, he can already boast to be a world champion.

Will he add IPL champion to that already impressive resume?

First Published: May 25, 2011 00:48 IST