Being his home-ground, the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi is very close to Virat Kohli’s heart. It’s the same for Shikhar Dhawan, Kohli’s long-time teammate in the Indian cricket team and the Delhi state team.
Virat Kohli has regained his golden touch and is back among runs. After a couple of years, where the former India captain went through a phase where he could not score centuries, Kohli has shown enough glimpses of being in form. Though he could not leave a big impact in the first Test against Australia, he will be expected to excel in the second Test in Delhi. Being his home-ground, the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi is very close to Kohli’s heart. It’s the same for Shikhar Dhawan, Kohli’s long-time teammate in the Indian cricket team and the Delhi state team.
Recently, he opened up on his equation with Kohli. “Virat is a good friend of mine. We share good camaraderie and always enjoy healthy banter. He is a senior player at Team India. I can pull his leg, young players can’t. He’s a big player. He has achieved so much. We exude good humour and bonhomie since our early playing days,” Dhawan told Lallantop.
While Dhawan was Kohli’s senior at the national level, Kohli is Dhawan’s senior at the international level. When asked whether this aspect hurts his ego, Dhawan said: “Agar ego par lelogey to tussle aygi he aygi. Ye to ego ki baat agyi na. (It’s nothing like that. If you take it on the ego, it will hurt you. It is then a matter of ego, isn’t it?) If I continue to think that I’m a senior and I’m playing under him. Then there will be ego. It’s all frivolous thinking to me. And there’s no need to have that. It’s of no use.”
Dhawan isn’t in the scheme of things in the Indian team as far as national selection goes, whereas, Virat remains one of the most important players in the team, across all formats.
Daring, tough and fiercely talented, Virat Kohli is arguably one of the finest batsmen that the country has produced. He has even drawn comparisons with the great Sachin Tendulkar. With a firm bottom-hand grip and the ability to smash balls landing on a particular area to any part of the ground at will and without much risk, Kohli has carved a niche of his own in Indian cricket. The king of chases as many of his fans have christened him, Kohli is a deeply hammered nail across all formats.
Kohli rose to fame when he captained India’s victorious World Cup Under-19 side in Malaysia, in 2008. He was immediately propelled into the lucrative Twenty20 tournament – the Indian T20 League in 2008 and has since been a part of the Bangalore franchise. He also went on to become the captain of the team in 2012 and has continued to remain so since then. Devoid of noteworthy performances in the first edition, his domestic form still won him an India ODI cap on the tour to Sri Lanka in the same year.
The Delhi lad was initially deployed at various positions in the batting line-up, from replacing Virender Sehwag as an opener to accelerating in the middle-order. After just 25 ODI innings, he had already amassed 9 fifty-plus scores including two centuries. Kohli has always believed in backing his confidence and with the assurance evident in his shot selection and footwork, he was rarely found wanting with his technique even on bowling-friendly surfaces abroad. Once Kohli grew in maturity, especially in the ODIs, lean patches made way for eye-ball grabbing consistency.
The aggressive right-hander had a marvellous run in 2010 during which he amassed close to 1000 runs. He did not let his guard down in 2011 by scoring a century in his maiden World Cup match against Bangladesh and contributed decently right throughout the tournament. The wait for a Test cap ended when he was selected for the tour of the West Indies in 2011. The strongest evidence of his mettle came early in 2012 during his maiden ton in whites on India’s tour to Australia; he put in an intrepid batting display while the others failed. His efforts paid off and Kohli was soon handed over the vice-captaincy of the Indian team ahead of the Asia Cup in 2012. He ended the tournament as the highest run-getter which included a whirlwind 183 off 148 balls against Pakistan.
Kohli captained the Indian ODI team for the first time against Sri Lanka in a Triangular ODI series in the Caribbean after an injury ruled MS Dhoni out for three ODIs. He then tasted the success of full-fledged captaincy in Zimbabwe where he marshalled the team in absence of Dhoni, who was rested and achieved a 5-0 clean sweep over the hosts. He added another feather to his cap when he registered the fastest ODI century by an Indian, off just 52 balls, against Australia in October 2013, Jaipur, helping India chase down a daunting target of 360.
In the following year, Kohli single-handedly took India to the finals of the ICC WT20 in Bangladesh but they lost against Sri Lanka at the last hurdle. The next few months would prove to be a massive learning curve for Kohli who was found wanting in the swinging conditions of England. James Anderson was his tormentor as he exposed a distinct weakness outside Kohli’s off stump. He was embarrassed but continued to remain a part of the Test side. In the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in November 2014, Kohli led India to a 5-0 routing of the Lankans, making him the first Indian captain to have affected a 5-0 whitewash home and away in ODI cricket.