Records continue to tumble in the face of Indian cricket's standard bear. Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, became the first player in Test history to score four double hundreds in consecutive series on the second day of the only Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad on Friday.
The feat helped the Delhi batsman eclipse Sir Don Bradman and Rahul Dravid who had registered three double hundreds in three successive Test series. For the current generation of aspiring cricketers, Kohli is defining the new model. His aggressive, confident and technically sound stroke play even during moments of crisis has left even the greats of the game purring. What's more, Kohli's exploits inspire others around him. As the quintessential team player and leader, the Indian captain coaxes his teammates into playing their natural game irrespective of the outcome.
"That's why I tried playing that shot (referring to the missed stumping chance earlier in his innings). Virat said that it's not a problem, and if you again get a chance, hit it. Don't worry if you are new to the crease. He always gives you confidence," said Wriddhiman Saha, who himself notched up a century. Cricket fans should savour Kohli. Some of the shots he plays during an innings are unreal. But more than his technical skills, it's his attitude on the pitch that has caught the imagination of many. He is like the boxer who must land the first punch. It's an attitude he carries even as captain, reminding many of the legendary Saurav Ganguly.
What's even more remarkable about Kohli's performances is that his batting statistics have been off the charts ever since he took over the captaincy. In 23 matches as Test captain, his batting average stands above 65, second only to the legendary Don Bradman's 101.51 among captains with 2000-plus Test runs. One of the marks of a true sporting great is his/her ability to enhance his performance levels when shouldering greater responsibility. Some players just thrive under greater responsibility.
Cricket Commentator and long-time observer, Harsha Bhogle, captured the scale of Kohli's achievements in a recent column. "Over the last couple of years, Virat Kohli has produced so many gems, and they have been replayed so many times, that you are just tempted to mark another boundary against his name and wait for the next," he said.