Virat Kohli- The Captain

NILAYSHAH60

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I already had it at the back of my mind that I had to create this thread. Kohli-The Captain is in the discussion a lot these days here in India and among the lot of Indians. So I just felt whether I could have my opinion on this topic and the best place where people can actually put up something for a healthy discussion is a public discussion forum and no forum seems to be a better place to discuss Cricket other than Planet Cricket so I decided to create this thread. So basically I won't be able to put together only in one post so I will be having few chapters of this discussion. And to add to it, these are solely my views and the facts that I have collected are from random sources and I don't want to force my opinion on someone. Everyone can have their own views regarding this.

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Virat Kohli-The King of Cricket

Chapter 1- Introduction
Name- Virat Kohli
Born- 5th November 1988
ODI debut- 18th August 2008 v/s Sri Lanka
Test debut- 20th June 2011 v/s West Indies
T20I debut- 12th June 2010 v/s Zimbabwe
Captaincy achievement- Won 2008 ICC U19 WC for India


Now let us just look at when the journey of this exceptional player started

Born on 5th November 1988 in a Punjabi family in Delhi. His father Prem Kohli was a criminal lawyer and mother Saroj Kohli was an housewife. Virat Kohli joined West Delhi Cricket Academy (WDCA) as a 9-year old boy. He was taken there by his father on the suggestion of neighbours that Virat shouldn't waste his time in playing gully-Cricket (basically an Indian form of street Cricket) and should rather join any professional club.

He was trained by his coach Rajkumar Sharma. Rajkumar Sharma was all praises for Kohli when he saw him play for the first time. In his words he said, “He oozed talent. It was so difficult to keep him quiet. He was a natural in whatever he did and I was most impressed with his attitude. He was ready to bat at any spot, and I had to literally push him home after the training sessions. He just wouldn’t leave.”

Actually Virat Kohli wasn't from a rich family. He had to live in average conditions but still somehow found his way to Cricket. Even as a student in school Kohli was remembered by his Teachers as, “a bright and alert child.” Kohli's studies was majorly affected due to him playing Cricket. I have a couple of things to quote that Kohli himself had said

Virat Kohli said:
This might be a record, I got 3/100 in Maths in class 9. Anyone can get atleast 15-20. But I got only 3 marks

Virat Kohli said:
I loved going to school whenever I could. It got difficult little later as I got busy playing Cricket
 
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NILAYSHAH60

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Chapter 2- Family and Personal Problems
Virat Kohli was just rapidly rising in his ranks and soon was recognised by many as a very talented Cricketer. He received an award from Indian Cricketer Ashish Nehra when he was just 15 years old.

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Kohli receiving award from Nehra
But soon the problems started to crop up. His family business struggled and he faced a lot of difficulties financially and at personal levels. He lost his father on 18th December 2006 due to a stroke after being bed-ridden for a month. In the words of Kohli,

Virat Kohli said:
“I've seen a lot in life. Losing my father at a young age, the family business not doing too well, staying in a rented place. There were tough times for the family... It's all embedded in my memory.”

According to Kohli his father was his greatest support. He once said,
Virat Kohli said:
“My father was my biggest support. He was the one who drove me to practice every day. I miss his presence sometimes.”

With all this it can be said that Kohli couldn't have done anything else rather than playing Cricket. With his family struggling financially and him losing his father he couldn't have pursued further studies. And with the time he dedicated towards Cricket he didn't have time to work and earn for his family. And the fact was he played so well that he could've looked towards Cricket even as a source of income. So he couldn't have done anything other than playing Cricket. And Kohli did have a lot of mental strength. The day Kohli lost his father he was playing a Ranji Trophy match for Delhi against Karnataka at the Feroz Shah Kotla. When he walked out to bat his team was struggling at 14/4 and subsequently were 59/5 in reply to Karnataka's 446 all out. So Kohli couldn't had afforded to leave the match mid-way. He actually went on to score 90(238) putting a partnership of 152 runs along with Delhi's Wicket-keeper batsman Puneet Bisht who also scored 156(283) to take Delhi to 308 all out. Later in the day Kohli went back home to perform the final rituals of his father. It all shows the mental strength and the integrity and self-discipline of the man over himself. Kohli's father wished to see Kohli play Cricket at the highest of level. In Kohli's words,

Virat Kohli said:
“I still remember the night my father passed away as it was the hardest time in my life. But the call to play the morning after my father's death came instinctively to me. I called my (Delhi) coach in the morning. I said I wanted to play, because for me not completing a cricket game is a sin. That was a moment that changed me as a person. The importance this sport holds in my life is very, very high”
 
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NILAYSHAH60

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The Under-19 Glory

After some consistent performances in the domestic arena Kohli was handed the U19 Captaincy. This was a recognition for the performances for Delhi in Ranji trophy and for being the top scorer for Delhi in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2007. In 2008 U19 WC India started off their campaign against Papua New Guinea. After losing the toss India were put in to bat first. They made 280/5 after Tanmay Srivastava's quick-fire 83 and later won the match by 195 runs. But playing against Papua New Guinea was always going to be a walk in the park.

In the next match against the Proteas, India performed magnificently well. They bowled out strong South African batting order for a meagre 154, the star of the match was left-arm medium fast bowler Pradeep Sangwan who wrecked havoc by bagging 5 wickets and was equally supported by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja who took 3/23. India won by a comfortable margin of 6 wickets with 8 overs to spare.

In their third match India played the West Indies, they again lost the toss and were put into bat. This time they were 116/3 at the end of the 28th over. In came Virat Kohli who looked in decent touch in the couple of matches he played. He put on a partnership of 111 runs with Saurabh Tiwary and helped India to a quick-fire finish by putting on 31 runs in 3 over with Ravindra Jadeja. Kohli himself scored a century off just 74 balls. And took India past 260. West Indies got off to a quick start but the Indian bowlers pulled it back with some spirited bowling performances from Siddharth Kaul who took 3/37 from his 8 overs while Jadeja took 2 wickets giving away just 28 runs in his 10 overs. All this performances showed the belief that Kohli had brought in this side. India reached the Quarter Finals after this victory.

In the Quarter Finals India played England. England had a very good start to their tournament before they lost their last group match to Bangladesh by close margin of 13 runs. The fact they performed well was because they played weaker teams in their group. Anyways, a Quarter Final is a Quarter Final and every team wants to do well in a knockout. England did not have a strong batting line-up which the Indian team made full use of it. Iqbal Abdulla grabbed 3/29 while Jadeja was economical once again with figures of 2/23 off his 10 overs. India won the match comfortably by 6 wickets despite of skipper Kohli not scoring good runs. It was brilliance of Taruwar Kohli who scored 63 which helped India to get through to the Semi-final chasing 147.

Now coming to the Semi-final India faced a strong New Zealand side. New Zealand had a good batting line-up with equally strong bowling line-up. New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first as they scored 205/8 in their 50 overs. The score looked decent enough to defend while rain interruption made to matters look worser. India now had to chase 191 of 43 overs. Kohli once again played a match-winning knock who was equally supported by Shreevats Goswami who eventually scored more than Kohli but because Kohli scored a touch quicker than him India were able to get to their target a couple of overs earlier and they reached their 3rd Final after winning 1 in 2000 and being runners-up in the edition prior to 2008.

India batted poorly in the Final as they were bowled out for 159. Rain interruption reduced the target further down to 116 in 25 overs. He said his team that it was their last match and they have to play like it. India got South Africa 11/3 at the end of 8th over. Ajitesh Agral bowled a fiery spell conceding just 7 runs and taking 2 wickets of his 5 overs. South Africa failed to reach the target as India lifted the U19 WC for the 2nd time.

The 2008 U-19 WC showed how Kohli was able to lead his side and showed his leadership qualities at a very young age.

Kohli 102 v/s West Indies in the 2008 U19 WC, Malaysia
 
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NILAYSHAH60

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You know what I liked the most about Kohli's Captaincy in the 2008 U19 WC ?

Him backing Jadeja, Kaul and Ajitesh Agral and playing them match after match. That was one of the highlights for me.
 

NILAYSHAH60

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I honestly don't think his team mates like him at all.

That suggests how much you have followed Indian Cricket. :rolleyes

If his team mates didn't like him than they wouldn't have spoken in his favour at all. And most importantly his former skipper wouldn't have pointed at him to become the Captain.
 

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Chapter4- Rise as an International player
Virat Kohli made his debut for India in ODIs against Sri Lanka at the Galle in 2008. He was asked to open the innings as Virender Sehwag was injured. Kohli didn't look as confident playing for India as he was during the U19 WC few months earlier. He looked completely clueless and unsure of his footwork against Vaas and Kulasekara. He did play a classy drive to Kulasekara for a boundary before falling to him as a plumb lbw wicket for just 12 runs. India were skittled for a mere 146 and Sri Lanka eventually won by 8 wickets. In the 4th match of the series Kohli came up with his maiden half century in ODI Cricket. He opened in all the matches and scored 159 runs in the series in 5 innings at an average of 31.80 and a half-century to his name. Shows that his career started in rather unconvincing fashion especially for the batsman of his caliber. He was in and out the side and never really got an opportunity for long enough until the ODI series at home against Sri Lanka in December 2009 off the back of a brilliant year in the domestic arena and doing well in CT'09. The most difficult thing to do in Indian Cricket is to get a permanent place back in those days especially when you have likes of Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni. And there was this young batsman who was consistently improving himself at a rapid pace and competing with those big names. He finally made his opportunity count when he stitched together a big partnership with Gautam Gambhir chasing a huge target of 316 who scored 150*(137). Kohli also made his maiden ODI century scoring 107(114). Later Gambhir gave him his own Man of the match to Kohli as a gesture to encourage him. Let's have a look at Kohli's knock in CT09 against West Indies his early career.

 
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NILAYSHAH60

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Chapter 5- Best young player + Vice Captaincy

The rise of Kohli didn't just stop after he scored his hundred. Infact it was just the start of rise of a brilliant career full of passion, ambition, aggression and grit. India started resting their senior players just to keep them fit and manage their work load and it was Kohli who started getting opportunities in those times and he grabbed those with both hands. In 2010 when India were chasing 290 on a slow track against a quality team like Australia, after losing a couple of early wickets Kohli started playing aggressively displaying all the range of shots that he had. He stitched together a crucial 137 run partnership with Yuvraj Singh and an 84 run partnership with Suresh Raina before he himself got out on 118. This was defined as a bit more matured 100 than the couple of them he already had scored. In the next series against NZ, he scored another ton on a difficult track and almost single handedly won the match for India batting first. He had a very good series against the Proteas but this time in South Africa. This was his first series outside Asia where he got to play all the matches of the ODI series. He scored 3 scores in excess of 50 in dire circumstances for the team due to which he got selected for the WC over Rohit Sharma. In his very first WC match, Kohli scored a 100 against Bangladesh. But after that he had an average tournament but he made sure he delivered when it mattered the most. Without his 35 runs in the 2011 WC Final India wouldn't have made the target look easier than they did. He made his Test debut against the West Indies in 2011 in the Carribean but he struggled against the bouncing ball and his technique was under the question. He missed the Test series in England which India lost 4-0 but he came back to play the ODI series. In a series where India were 2-0 down playing the last match of the series Kohli played a crucial knock of 107 runs helping India to 308. Unfortunately he was out hit-wicket hampering India's progress to 330+ as Bairstow played a match winning knock on debut to see England home. Kohli made scoring tons a habit of his own and winning matches for India became his job. The best was still yet to come! India were playing in the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series and required a bonus point to stay alive in the tournament. India needed to score 321 off just 40 overs. They started positively but were soon 86/2 in 10 overs requiring 230 off just 30 overs. In came Kohli and he soon started to shift gears. He looked in a league of his own that night. He smashed 24 runs of the then best death bowler Lasith Malinga and smashed his way to 133* and he won the match for India in just 38.2 overs. He was praised for his maturity that he showed and the confidence with which he played. It was a knock that one doesn't see often. With this knock he became a chase-master for India. And because of this knock he was given the vice-Captaincy of India. He didn't disappoint yet again. In the Asia Cup he scored 100 on 2 out of 3 occassions which included his career best of 183 against Pakistan chasing 338. This knock of his proved that Kohli was a special player!

Kohli 107 v/s England, 5th ODI, Cardiff 2011

Kohli 133* v/s SL, CB Series, Hobart 2012

Kohli 183 v/s Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur 2012

 
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