Indian cricket thrives on fairy tales and Virat is scripting its latest chapter, writes Shishir Hattangadi
Performances by the Indian team in the Southern Hemisphere are sometimes difficult to track whole-heartedly. The games start when one is in deep slumber, and life moves on post-dawn with passing enquiries about the status of the match.
Therefore, it was a privilege to wake up and watch Virat Kohli bat on Tuesday morning.
Great achievers so often talk about being in the ‘zone’ of numbness.
Virat Kohli celebrates his century against New Zealand in Wellington on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
One sensed Kohli was experiencing being in that space. One noticed calmness — both in attack and defence — that’s possible only when one is in that ‘zone’.
Footwork most often defines confidence and self-belief. There was an aura to the certainty in his moving back or getting forward. This is the lifeline to a good batting display.
He edged one and was not given out. One, often, needs a dash of salt and pepper to take a meal from a state of being insipid to delicious. That decision could have been the ingredient he needed to get into the zone of calm and serene arrogance.
There has been a sense of attack in the way he has defended. It gives the opposing captain and bowlers a feeling of having to work much harder for his wicket, which can be unnerving. That, to cricket watchers, is comforting to see and admire.
Virat, will sooner rather than later, climb the run-scoring charts. He seems destined, barring some usual form and
Virat’s performance away from home has fuelled inquisitiveness in the batting crazy fan. Post the Gavaskar-Vishwanath and Vengsarkar-Amarnath era we had the Tendulkar era, supported by Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Sehwag. There was hope, there was expectancy, joys and disappointment.
And the inevitable debate.
Virat is soon getting to a position where the more he scores, the more fans will expect from him. Indian cricket thrives on fairy tales and Virat is scripting its latest chapter. He is in the 40-plus Test average bracket, and once he moves up a few notches, the highly misused adjective ‘great’ will be a common prefix to whatever he does with the willow.
He appears strong enough to shrug off the inevitable dreaded lean trot. Modern-day players handle it better because of financial security and a constant vigil on the lethargy that might creep into one’s technique playing day in and out.
His best predictably is yet to come. This is a phase of his cricket that he needs to store in his hard disk. It is during those lonely, helpless, phases of run-famine, that this passage of time could just be the right remedial therapy.