‘Kohli, Kohli, Kohli…’ A new name for the crowd to chant

At 24, Virat Kohli is the man to invest in, as a player, as a brand ambassador. His personality is not just about making runs and money. It is about the consistency that marks his cricket. It is about the seriousness that places him in the category of rare batsmen who can adapt to all the three formats of the game, writes Vijay Lokapally.

He brings the old world charm to the middle, the romance, artistry and entertainment that has been the domain of players like Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag to name a few. Modern cricket has been embellished with some amazing talent and Virat Kohli bestrides the horizon as the brightest of them all.

His quick walk to the crease is a sight to behold. Greg Chappell, notably, was ever eager to get to the middle and take charge. Kohli does it with a distinctive style, his sprightly presence even influencing his partners. In his presence, batting becomes a pursuit of joy, without a moment of ennui, and an exercise that takes the contest a notch higher.

Twirling his bat as he ambles towards short leg in between deliveries, he quickly reassumes the stance, ready to receive the best, ready to tame the tempestuous of challenges without showing any hurried adjustments. “You will hardly see Virat hustled at the crease. It has been his habit from the formative years at the club,” says Raj Kumar Sharma, his coach for a long time.

Consistency has been the hallmark of Kohli’s cricket. Sixteen centuries in One-Day Internationals and four in Tests have set him apart as the batsman to watch in the times to come. The assured attitude that marks his cricket comes from an awesome streak of confidence. “Not arrogance, but confidence” as he insists. His demeanour often conveys a misleading picture of the man.

Kohli is a private person, but most demonstrative on the field. Nothing can keep him down and quiet. His strokes are gentle and sometimes savage, but mostly reflecting his exuberance to make the most of his awesome ability to improvise and dominate. He has honed his game over long hours of training, away from prying eyes, his coach the constant factor.

Kohli backs himself to the hilt and plays with passion as was evident in the way he tapped his name and number with the helmet after that recordbreaking century in Jaipur.-PTI

From the time he made waves in Delhi cricket circles, shining among seniors and unflinching in his approach, Kohli has only improved at a rapid pace. He has shown great maturity for his age. In junior cricket he towered over the rest. “He has a sharp cricketing mind and even I would marvel at some of the questions he confronted me with,” reminisces Raj Kumar Sharma.

His rise was on expected lines. Kohli cementing his place in the Indian team too was an expected development, pleasant for the squad, for he was the most accommodative member. He loves and treasures the time he spends with fellow-cricketers, the dressing room resonating with his positive vibes. If he is the most sought-after brand ambassador in the commercial world, it speaks for his massive appeal across all age groups.

“Why does he abuse so much on the field?” a concerned fan, a mother of a ten-year-old aspirant, spoke her mind even as Kohli reacted typically at the fall of a wicket. “He is just giving it back mom,” replied the young fellow, leaving the mother flummoxed. She was convinced that Kohli’s fan club was loyal and rising. In five years of international cricket, Kohli has emerged as the most improved batsman in terms of quality, with some sensational performances, the century in Jaipur against Australia being the latest. He produced the fastest century by an Indian in ODIs, taking just 52 balls to reach the mark, eight balls less than Virender Sehwag’s previous record. This was a statement that befitted his rising stature in world cricket.

Kohli represents the young generation’s aspirations. His list of endorsements has placed him in the most-sought after bracket. Kohli promises to surpass M. S. Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar in earnings from his endorsements ranging from soft drinks, cars and clothing to sports goods. He is a complete package bringing value to his cricket and sponsors. He is reportedly a 100-crore brand ambassador of 15-odd products.

At 24, Kohli is the man to invest in, as a player, as a brand ambassador. His personality is not just about making runs and money. It is about the consistency that marks his cricket. It is about the seriousness that places him in the category of rare batsmen who can adapt to all the three formats of the game.

His strokeplay is fluency at its best. The drive that he unleashes with a determined front-foot movement, leaving the field stranded, is one of the finest sights. He picks the line early and uncorks a sublime act which brings optimum result from minimal effort. “It is his confidence! I back him strongly to become one of the greats of the game,” is how Navjot Sidhu assesses the young charmer, easily one of the most eligible bachelors.

The nattily gelled hair and prominently tattooed arms present him as the modern icon of change, the predominantly young fan club revering his exploits and according Kohli a special place in their heart.

There is Tendulkar. There are Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. But it is Kohli who stands out for his ever-rising reputation in world cricket, a batsman of exceptional brilliance and a brand ambassador with enviable appeal; a leader in the making.