Virat Kohli has once again demonstrated why he is hailed as the best batsman on the planet currently playing the game. The Indian captain who has tormented the strongest of bowling line-ups around the world had a horrible tour of England in 2014 when he could not really manage the English seamers. In a total of 10 test innings, Kohli could manage only 134 runs and was troubled constantly by Anderson’s outswinging deliveries. Kohli was found pushing at the ball way outside his off stump every now and then leading to awkward dismissals However, he moved on and since then amassed runs in all kinds of conditions. But a pertinent question that was asked time and again was whether Kohli will be able to replicate his tremendous form when he leads his team on a tour to England. In fact, his critics had started labeling him as a flat-track bully even though Kohli had shown his mettle on the fast and bouncy Australian and South African tracks.
It was argued that while Kohli could score on batsman friendly wickets, he faced problems when it came to seaming English conditions. Critics argued that Kohli found the moving English ball too hot to handle and he could score only when the ball came on to the bat. However, Kohli with his marvelous ton in the first test at Birmingham yesterday has proved all such critics wrong. In his impressive knock of 149, Kohli displayed his class and his capability to dominate any bowling attack anywhere in the world.
At a time, when the Indian batting collapsed as a unit and only Hardik Pandya was showing some resistance adding 48 runs for the sixth wicket along with Virat Kohli, the Indian captain led from the front. He ensured that England was not able to secure a mammoth lead over India. Batting at 57 when Ashwin was dismissed, Kohli steadfastly attacked the English with tail enders, Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma giving him company from the other end. It was literally “Kohli v England” yesterday and Indian captain stood in the way of England. It was not only about the amount of runs that he scored but the way and the authority with which he scored them. Kohli rotated the strike at will defying the English bowlers and attacking them when he needed to.
During his previous tour to England, Kohli managed merely 134 runs during the entire Test series but this time around he has managed to surpass that score in a single innings. Therefore, he has put the demons of 2014 behind him. This has also laid to rest all doubts about his ability to score in seam conditions. He has shown that every batsman can have a poor tour but that does not in any way cast aspersions about his class.
This was not only about Kohli’s sublime innings yesterday but he was also looking in very good form throughout the ODI series. He was twice able to score the 70-run mark but his innings yesterday was complete in the sense that he converted a good start into a marvelous ton. It can be said that Kohli’s tag of being the greatest batsman currently playing the game is now firmly proved even as he has conquered his last frontier, i.e., England.