At the beginning of 2010, Virat Kohli was a man of promise. He had captained India to victory at the Under-19 World Cup and had close to 500 runs under his belt in ODI cricket. Then in that year he came into form and belted 995 runs.
Some commented that he had missed a rare chance to score 1000 runs in a calendar year. Undeterred, Kohli bettered that and hit 1381 in 2011. Then he raised the bar even further and in 2012, even as the first quarter is yet to come to an end, he has made an astonishing 730 runs at an average of 73 and strike rate of 97%.
He is truly becoming the superstar of his generation.Raising the bar again
Just 20 odd days ago Kohli blasted a 133 off 86 balls on Australian soil. That helped us chase 321 in the 37th over. Many people called that one of the best innings ever and definitely Kohli's best.
Kohli has again raised the bar in such a short time span hitting an astonishing 183 off 148 balls to help India chase 330 in the 48th over itself, which is India's new chasing record and 13th successful 300+ chase overall.
Kohli has hit seven centuries batting second and all of them have been won by India. "Chase" well could be his middle name as we can say quite easily, "Whenever Kohli scores a century, India wins!"
Indeed, 10 of his 11 centuries have resulted in a win for India. The only Kohli century that went in vain was against England was courtesy of Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis!
Interestingly, in his short career, he has already hit an ODI century against seven Test playing nations. It's just a matter of time before he does it against all of them.We don't need no sixes
The astonishing part of the innings was the number of sixes he hit. One. Yes, that's it. There have been 20 scores of 175 and above and in all of them the number of sixes that have been hit have ranged from 3-15!
Now that's a new unique type of record. Kohli has shown that he's not a slogger, but has pure class. He can rotate the strike at will. He will hit the bad balls for boundaries and the good balls for singles, thereby minimizing his odds of getting out and keep the scoreboard ticking at the same time.
To hit a very bad bowling attack for multiple sixes is an art mastered by many, but to keep milking the strike when the bowling is top class is a feat achieved by Kohli. That means no matter what the conditions, Kohli is programmed to deliver.
"How to achieve a high strike rate without hitting sixes" is a book that Kohli could write easily.Much much promise
Kohli has played 85 matches so far. He has 3590 runs and 11 centuries. At a similar stage in his career, Sachin Tendulkar had 2393 runs and 2 centuries.
The legendary Sir Vivian Richards had an ODI batting average of 47. Kohli has 50.6.
Master blaster Virender Sehwag had to wait 12 long years before he hit his first 175+ score. Kohli has done if after being a regular member of the Indian team for three odd years.
Virat probably has already made one of the most sensational debuts in international ODI cricket. He has proved his has everything in terms of talent, temperament and consistency. Now his only challenge is to maintain the tempo right throughout his career. If he does that then he can even have a crack at some of Sachin's ODI records.
Naughty in his ads. Aggressive on the field. Sublime in his batting. That's King Kohli for you.
The future looks bright for Kohli. If in any match he gets into a six hitting mode, then a double century is there for the asking.
If ever the opposition scores 400 runs in the first innings, then with Kohli at the crease, anything will seem possible.
As an added bonus, if only Kohli manages to transform his ODI form fully into the Test arena, then India's future will look very bright indeed.
All hail to the new king in town!The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/