Virat set to keep tryst with destiny

India's tour of Australia could've been rated an abject failure so far if it hadn't been for one player - Virat Kohli. Ian Chappell writes.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2012 23:56 IST

India's tour of Australia could've been rated an abject failure so far if it hadn't been for one player - Virat Kohli.

Kohli has grown in stature on the tour, rising above the batting failures, non-athletic fielding and magnanimous bowling of some of his more experienced team-mates to gradually stamp his authority on the international game. Until this series, he was accepted as a fine short form player but it has been his improvement in the Test match arena that has stamped him as an integral part of India's way forward.

There were signs in a first innings of 23 at the SCG that he was starting to come to grips with Test cricket in general and Australian conditions in particular. They were small steps but compared with what was happening with the rest of the team, it was at least a miner's lamp at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel. This small offering was followed by a good double at the WACA, where a second innings century beckoned until his team-mates imploded and left him last out, flailing away in a vain attempt to reach three figures with only the No. 11 for support.

Kohli showed by scoring a century in his very next innings at the Adelaide Oval that he felt he belonged at this level and nothing, not even team-mates' ineptitude, was going to derail his appointment with destiny.

Hurdles to cross

Despite his natural gifts, which include exquisite timing and abundant confidence, there are still some hurdles to overcome before he reaches the elite status. Not the least of these obstacles is his impetuosity. Twice in recent innings, once in a Test and again in an ODI, he needlessly ran himself out.

Both Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina are very talented but they need to take a leaf out of Kohli’s book on determination to succeed.

Rohit has already squandered a couple of opportunities to impress and a lazy, leaden-footed square cut at the WACA smacked of a young player wanting to take the easy road to success. The selectors need to share some of the blame, as Rohit should've been elevated to the Test arena sooner and sometimes a player can recede when he stays at a lower level too long.

Raina has flattered to deceive but his dismissal at the WACA was inconsiderate. Slogging a ball straight down an outfielder's throat — when the situation cried out for him to preserve his wicket, isn’t designed to make selectors think kindly of a player when he's in a bad trot. Both Raina and Rohit need to pull their socks up if they want to join Kohli in being part of an Indian cricket revival.

First Published: Feb 12, 2012 23:52 IST