Free Press Journal

Virat Kohli at 29: Is Kohli the face of New India?


Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli will turn 29 on November 5 (Sunday). Who is Virat Kohli? What defines Virat Kohli? What stands about Virat Kohli? These questions are not complex and Kohli ever since he made his debut for the senior team in 2008 against Sri Lanka in one day international cricket (ODI) great things were destined for this Delhi lad and he has overachieved in the last nine years. Indian skipper has become synonymous with records and recently became the second highest centurion in ODI cricket (32) and now he is only behind Indian great and Bharat Ratna awardee Sachin Tendulkar (49). Kohli like Indian cine star Aamir Khan is a meticulous planner and he leaves nothing to chance and has already blasted 49 tons (32 in ODIs, 17 in Tests) in international cricket.

The game of India’s most beloved superstar is simple and he doesn’t complicate things and stays in present. The perception when Kohli started out was that he was brash, pompous, arrogant, self-centered, but as the years have gone he has redefined himself and believes in calling spade a spade rather than being diplomatic and politically correct.

There is a great anecdote about Kohli, before playing for India that has been mentioned quite a lot. Kohli playing for his domestic side Delhi against Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy heard the devastating news of his father passing away and continued playing the match after cremating his father and scored a century to save the match for Delhi. Kohli despite being so young and under tremendous stress showed his mental toughness and proved that his resolve his unmatched and he is special. Kohli while starting out initially struggled and critics jumped on him for his lifestyle, nature and said he is not serious and perception was made that he is not cut out for international cricket. As the years have passed the game of Kohli changed drastically and now his work ethic, preparation, fitness and devotion to the game is beyond question and he has converted stones into milestones and is never satisfied with his game and is always one step ahead of the opposition.

Is Kohli becoming a youth icon? What is left for Kohli to achieve? The great thing about Kohli is that he is quite stubborn and has that mongrel inside him. The skipper of the Indian team has scored runs in Australia, South Africa New Zealand, and West Indies with the possible exception of England and Wales and is always leading from the front. Some ex-cricketers have questioned the personality of Kohli, but Kohli is not a people pleaser and is his own man and will never take a backward step and his adrenaline will pump every time he plays for the tricolour. It will not be an exaggeration when one compares Kohli with former Windies great Sir Vivian Richards because just like Richards the game of Kohli has swagger and he instills fear in bowlers. Since Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement Kohli has become the face of Indian cricket and in recent times he is one of the wealthiest cricketers all around the world.

Also read: Is Rahul Dravid’s criticism of Virat Kohli case of sour grapes?

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about New India and Kohli is the best example of it. He is unapologetic, aspirational and hard working. Kohli didn’t have any godfather growing up and has made it thus far by slogging it out day in day out and has given blood, sweat, tears to achieve all this and being the best in the world. You cannot become great by luck and Kohli is the undisputed leader in contemporary cricket.

Kohli is also a great speaker and a captain who has a sound mind and relies on instincts rather than statistics. PM Modi wants to change India and Kohli through sheer willpower, dedication has made a small contribution to it. He has proved that if you work hard then nothing is impossible and 125 crore Indians look up to him and when Kohli scores a hundred he brings a smile on every Indian’s face. As Kohli is about to turn 29, the new master blaster has rewritten the rules of the game and is yet to reach his prime (scary, isn’t it) and we wish him to continue entertaining Indians by scoring runs and make India win many more matches.