How Virat Kohli Conquered TCricket

How Virat Kohli Conquered TCricket

Virat Kohli is the ultimate outlier in the modern-day T20 batting. Kohli is a complete antithesis of a modern-day T20 batter. It is the format that suits him the least. He is not a muscle man like Russell or Gayle, neither plays cute scoops or lap shots that keep you on the edge of the seats. Kohli is not a spin basher like Heinrich Klaasen or a pocket size rocket like Nicholas Pooran. Neither does he possess pyro techniques like Liam Livingstone. Nor he has the god gifted timing like Rohit or Gill. To make it worse, he does not even have a sweep shot in his armory. In a way, he is a dull, mundane batter lacking most of the checklists of T20 batting. Yet he is the ICC Player of the tournament twice and is the second highest run getter in this format. Then what makes Kohli an ultimate beast in this format? How on earth did he keep producing the knocks like that of in Mohali, Wankhede and Melbourne?

Virat Kohli’s entire career is built on self believe. An innate ability to make things happen through his sheer willpower and hard work. His self belief dug him out of the hole during the tough times. In a world full of high speed and thrill filled Lamborghinis and Ferraris, Kohli’s T20 batting was a classical Limousine – perfect for many occasion and durable. He will not hit towering sky scrapping sixes or or tonk the ball with brute force. Kohli always played classical cricketing shots hardly anything reckless. He has always got the gift of timing and hitting the gaps. The modern day legend knew his limitations and had built a steady game around it. He did the basics right. Ironically, most of the time, doing simple things repeatedly is actually very hard.

Kohli was sometimes scratchy against the spinners and fails to hit them for boundaries. But with the top notch fitness level that he possesses, he ran hard between the wickets always hungry for that extra run. While other batters may hit you for a six and play 2 dot balls afterward, Kohli on the other hand milked you for 3 doubles and eventually will have the result like that of the earlier batter. The run machine has got a well programed calculator in his mind that breaks down targets into minuscule tasks. He waited for the opposition to make mistakes and pounced on their vulnerabilities. He knew his matchups well, which bowler to target.

Virat Kohli Makes History: First to 3,000 Runs in T20 and 50-Over World Cups
Virat Kohli Makes History: First to 3,000 Runs in T20 and 50-Over World Cups (Image Source: Twitter)

Virat Kohli’s T20 innings was generally divided into 2 halves: The Accumulator and The Beast Mode. Kohli used to start his innings normally looking for gaps and running hard between the wickets. He used to take an odd risk but only if it was badly needed, that too playing orthodox shots. With his active presence at the crease and the ability to hit the gaps consistently, Kohli used to maintain a strike rate of 120-130 playing risk free cricket. But come the last 4-5 overs he totally switched from the acculumator’s role to the ultimate beast mode. He took risks in the final 4 overs clearing the ropes and scoring sixes. His rubber like wrists and the free flowing drives yielded him the quick runs. From a usual strike rate of 130 odd, he used to raise the bar scoring at a strike rate of around 200 in the last 4. There are numerous instances when he was 40 off 30 balls and doubled the same runs in the next ten balls. In the economics term risk-return trade off, he minimized his risks well, maximizing his returns for the long run. This approach worked for him more often than not. There were some hiccups on the way with this style of play when he was dismissed early chewing up more balls than expected. But in the end, most of the time, he used to get the job done.

Seeing him play that way, one may wonder why he didn’t play like that since the start of the innings. But the middle order back then was way too bleak. The onus was always on the top 3 even in T20Is to do the bulk of the scoring. If the openers failed, he had to anchor the innings to at least help the team arrest a collapse and get to a safer target.

Virat Kohli Named Player of the Match in ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Final
Virat Kohli Named Player of the Match in ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Final (Image SOurce: BCCI Twitter)

Virat Kohli’s performance in T20 Internationals is nothing short of phenomenal. In 125 matches, he has amassed 4,188 runs with an impressive average of 48.69. His consistent scoring includes 38 fifties and one hundred, with a highest score of 122*. Kohli holds several records in T20Is, including the second most runs (4,188), the most fifties (38), the most Player of the Match (POTM) awards (16) out of which 8 were in the T20 World Cup, and the most Player of the Series awards (7) out of which 2 in the World Cups. His contributions have been pivotal in India’s success, including winning the T20 World Cup and earning the Player of the Tournament accolade twice (2014 and 2016). In addition to his batting prowess, he has taken 4 wickets and held 54 catches. His leadership skills are evident with 32 wins as captain. Remarkably, he held the No.1 T20I batsman ranking for 1,012 days and contributed to 12-century partnerships and 64 half-century partnerships. The most striking part is the way he was consistent in a format that is so hard to master and be consistent. What stands out is the way he maximized his game with the limited skillsets he possessed. He was literally the lone ranger with the bat in the T20 World Cups until now and even in his final international appearance, he had to bail his team out of trouble yet again.

With the T20 World Cup victory yesterday, Kohli finally got the fitting farewell he deserved. With this achievement, Kohli completes cricket with all the ICC Tournaments to his name. We may see breathtaking stroke makers, power-packed hitters or players that keep you on the edge of the seat with their scoops, sweeps, and high risk shots. But none of them would be as pleasing, calculative and consistent as Virat made it look…

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