Trust the Indian Media to jump the gun and compare Virat Kohli with the likes of Tendulkar, Lara and Richards, even if only statistically. It is one of the most ridiculous comparisons and it would have had Kohli blushing. I mean, the Delhi youngster has barely cut his international cricketing teeth and the Indian Media is falling over each other in signing praise.
No wonder then that Tendulkar himself pleaded that Kohli be left alone to focus on his batting and that the Media should restrain itself from hyperbole. For all the obvious talent that Kohli has, we would be better off to wait and watch how he develops over the next four or five seasons. Like all Indian sportspersons (not just cricketers), I expect Kohli to be at the peak of his prowess between the ages 26-30.
No doubt, Kohli’s arrival is good news for the Indian team that can now safely bank on this young man to fill the No.3 slot in all formats, but it will be his consistency rather than just the runs he scores that will be used to judge or rate him as a batsman of quality. The sport is littered with players who arrived on the scene in a blaze of glory, but never quite lasted the distance due to various reasons. Of course, I am hoping that Kohli enjoys a long career, for he is an exciting batsman to watch.
Hence, it is best that the critics and fans alike exercise some moderation in expressing their thoughts on Kohli rather than go overboard that will only exert avoidable pressure on the young player who still needs to mature not just as a cricketer, but also as a personality. He is still rather precocious and wears his emotions on his sleeves, something that has got him into a ruckus in the recent past.
For the moment, all that can be said of Kohli is that he has makings of a top class cricketer and is certainly a captaincy material. A spell of apprenticeship under Dhoni will not hurt him as it would polish the rough edges. It is best to remember that Kohli has merely taken baby steps and it will not harm anyone to wait before judging and assigning him a spot in the cricketing pantheon.
While Virat was making waves in the Asia Cup, I took in a bit of World Series Hockey, but came away appalled by the poor quality. Of course, a couple of players did show some potential, but overall, the fare on offer was rather disappointing and my guess is that it will take another season or two before teams begin to settle down.
With very little time to get players from different countries and cultures to combine into an effective unit, the eight team coaches are obviously having their hands full trying to get to know and understand the players, much less work out strategies. Consequently, the WSH games have been more about individual skills than team efforts and that has impacted the overall quality of the matches.
Barring a few inspired spells, the WSH standard has barely risen above club-level despite the best efforts of the commentators who have been at pains to inject some artificial excitement (in any case, they are paid to do so) with liberal use of adjectives and the hyperbole.
If anything, the WSH has a long way to go, that is assuming that the vindictive International Hockey Federation and Hockey India will not scuttle the event. The WSH concept is good and to be welcomed, and I am certain that the quality will certainly improve should the top players participate.
As of now, the WSH is littered with washed out international players and untested talent. The tournament desperately needs the presence of current India stars besides players of proven credentials from Europe and Australia. Perhaps, that day will dawn next year if the international federation behaves like a responsible parent rather than an ill-tempered school teacher.
The inaugural WSH has thrown up a few niggles that are to be expected given the size and scale of the tournament with its logistics of travel and scheduling. Some clarity and consistency in application of umpire referrals, stricter on-field supervision and overall presentation will surely give the tournament a leg-up.
For the sports fan though, it will be a busy summer with the high-profile IPL following the WSH with barely 48 hours separating the two events. Although I am not a fan of IPL, occasionally, it does lights up a dull evening.