‘Kohli destined for leadership’
Mumbai, Mar 5: Virat Kohli’s jaw-dropping century against Sri Lanka – in what turned out to be their last match of the arduous Australia tour – ensured the visitors returned home buoyed by an improbable win.
The 23-year-old has emerged as the mainstay of the national team in recent times and even been appointed vice-captain of the side. The Delhi batsman, who led India to victory in the Under-19 World Cup in 2008, has widely been hailed as the future leader of Indian cricket.
“By making Virat vice-captain, the selectors have taken a step in the positive direction. We need to groom someone like him who [combines] talent and attitude,” former Delhi all-rounder, and member of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad, Kirti Azad was quoted as saying by an Indian daily.
“Virat is one guy who was always confident about his abilities. The aggression in his attitude stemmed from his immense talent. I still remember the days when he was very young but had the habit of setting the field for his seniors,” Virat’s coach Raj Kumar Sharma told the daily. “There were instances when I scolded him and asked him to stop interfering in the captain’s matters. But when I look back now, I think he was always destined to be a leader.”
Despite some masterful performances in the shorter formats of the game, the youngster had to struggle to make his place in the Test squad. After making his Test debut against the West Indies in June last year during the away tour, Virat registered his first half-century in his sixth outing against the same opponents in the home series later in the year.
“Virat was under a great deal of pressure in the Test series. He had failed with the bat in the first two Tests and managed to score some runs in the third. But once he got his maiden hundred in Adelaide, there was no looking back. How smoothly he has completed the transformation from being a rookie to India’s most reliable batsmen could be gauged from his match-winning knock last week [against Sri Lanka],” his coach said.
“He was confident, as always. He was in good form and had told me that a big innings was around the corner. Fortunately, it happened to be in Hobart. It was undoubtedly his best knock,” the proud coach declared.
“He has done really well as a batsman and captain for Delhi, but [this] is his real test. The media will train the spotlight on every move of his,” believed Virat’s senior Delhi teammate Rajat Bhatia. “He obviously did well as captain of India’s U-19 team, but when I saw him lead the Delhi side, I immediately knew that this was just the beginning for Virat as age was on his side.”
Virat’s first assignment as vice-captain is the Asia Cup in Bangladesh starting March 11, featuring India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.