It's hard to take your eyes off Virat Kohli

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 02, 2012 05:03 hrs

​Virat Kohli is a very contemporary batsman in a very traditional core. That is how all players who aspire to greatness are. Indeed that is how all great performers are, writers, actors, dare I say lawyers.

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The basic skills of a profession rarely change, it is the manner, the execution that does. Like Gavaskar and Dravid and Tendulkar, Kohli's balance and footwork are precise, the bat is largely straight, he has the ability to play late and, from the distance we watch the game from, his mind seems very clear.

But as befits a player playing a modern game, his first instinct is to search for runs, he is not shy of hitting over the top and he runs between the wickets like they do in the war movies between shooting two people.

He has one other quality that great players have: you don't take your eyes off him when he is playing because the approach is an enjoyable as the result. Even a slogger compels you to watch, but in the manner that slapstick does. You watch brilliance because you want to enjoy the little parts creating the whole.

And so you remember the shots, not just the score; the first cover drive off Yasir Arafat was as gorgeous as any you will see as were the two cuts off Saeed Ajmal played from right in front of the off stump. If a kid played those the coach would wag a finger at him, would admonish him because more often not, the off stump would be knocked back. But with Kohli, there is now such great precision in stroke-play that you remember the shot, not the risk.

Kohli is now ready, certainly in the shorter forms of the game, to seek his place among those in the higher echelons. His shot making in this form is complete, the ability to pace a game is in place too and he has now acquired the calmness of mind that is critical. Henceforth, most barriers to progress will come from within and that is a wonderful place to be.

Then, he must seek to conquer the peak on which great players reside. He must travel around the world and score runs there in Test cricket. There is nothing to suggest he cannot, but that will be an engrossing journey to watch.

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