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K.R. NAYAR COLUMN: Silencing critics the Kohli way is as brilliant as his knocks

For those who doubted his skills his world record run spree is the answer

19:24 February 18, 2018

Virat Kohli has shown batsmen around the world on how to silence critics who doubted his abilities on unfamiliar wickets.

To respond with a bilateral One-day series world record of 558 runs at an average of 186 just shows his determination to excel on any given circumstance.

Though critics are unlikely to rest till he scores on England wickets, the Indian skipper is racing away, piling up centuries and challenging all other batsmen to catch him if they can.

He is just 29 years old and has at least seven years of cricket ahead of him. If he is able to maintain this form and fitness, one can only imagine the number of centuries or runs that he could pile up before he hangs up his boots.

There are many still hesitant to accept him as the best among batsmen in the world, and compare his skills to others who are also consistent; but Kohli has shown that right now he is not just a master of spin on subcontinent wickets but against pacers too on wickets which have bounce and speed. Every knock is a strong message to accept him as a batting machine.

When Sachin Tendulkar retried after setting records after records, many believed there wouldn’t be anyone in the near future to race to those records. None expected Kohli, who was Tendulkar’s teammate then, to prepare to conquer those records. The speed with which he raced past other batsmen in his team has been marvellous, and now he is fast racing ahead of the best batsmen in the world too in the same manner.

Critics and some formers cricketers who questioned his skills have done a great service to Kohli by making his verve stronger. Two things are important to label one as the best; they include one’s ability to bat on any type of wicket and in all formats of the game. And with an average of above 50 in all three formats of the game, Kohli has proven that. His consistency is bound to swell his average, but what needs to be admired is the manner in which he gets his runs. It is a lesson for youngsters on how to adapt technique to the need of the format.

Kohli’s consistency is also an answer to those who say that too much of limited over cricket can steal away a batsman’s ability to stay at the wicket. He has played 200 One-dayers and 55 Twenty20 International matches, but has excelled in the 66 Test matches by batting like a rock.

Fans now address him as the ‘Bradman of modern batting’; but youngsters who are able to score consistently on all formats may soon be labelled as the ‘Kohli of all formats of the game’!