Virat Kohli killed us softly: Kiwi coach


Indian Skipper’s Matured Show Leaves Hesson Awestruck

A Virat Kohli-lookalike, his hair gelled neat, the beard trimmed to a fault, caught the attention of television cameras trying to capture a roaring crowd of close to 18,000 at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday .The young man didn’t bother acknowledging. There was no hint of a smile and the eyes stayed behind dark shades even as he flashed his ear studs to add to the resemblance.

It’s the kind of acknowledgement movie stars crave for, when they get to the point of thinking they’ve arrived.It’s the kind of experience that made Shah Rukh Khan make a movie. In Indian sports, it’s the kind of stardom only Sachin Tendulkar enjoyed.

The young Virat Kohli fan, in doing what he did, gave the Indian cricket captain’s immense popularity a fillip on similar lines. Irony made this happen on a day when Kohli was busy scripting yet another chapter in his stardom. Perhaps his finest yet.

After the 200 in Antigua this July , his next seven Test innings scores had read like this: 44, 3, 4, 9, 18, 9, 45 -before coming to the Indore Test.

“Is it bothering you?“ he was asked ahead of the match. “No“ he replied.Then he scored 211.

Of the 211 he scored, only 80 runs came off boundaries. There were no sixes.He ran his remaining runs. Close to 120 of those came in singles. It was the New Zealand coach Mike Hesson who pointed this out.

“Kohli killed us softly ,“ Hesson said after the day’s play .

The 27-year-old refuses to showcase himself a 27-year-old anymore. At least that’s what his batting is beginning to now suggest. That’s what his four celebrations -at 50, 100, 150 & 200 -suggested. At best, he gave an idea he was thrilled when -after the first hundred -he made a gesture towards the dressing room. Nothing more.

It was a very un-Kohli kind of a thing to do for a batsman who has consciously spent the better part of his career being animated. Among other things, it helped him create a picture of himself to the outside world which he now seems bent on redoing in a different colour.

The innings, a defining one both in terms of the score and maturity , offered a lot more. It gave a glimpse into Kohli the captain too who made an effort to allow his partner at the other end -his batting Lieutenant Ajinkya Rahane -build his own space. It was the kind of effort that made way for a remarkable partnership of 365 runs.

Having been part of dismissals in his two innings at Green Park and the first at Eden Gardens -playing shots that he could’ve avoided -Kohli looked like he had made up his mind coming to Indore.There were no lofted strokes. To put the day in perspective, it was Rahane who bore the brunt of New Zealand’s pace strategy , taking body blows to painstakingly build his 188. Kohli simply calmed himself down a few degrees.


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