Bulawayo -- Halfway into a football game, as part of their warm-up programme, the shoulders drooped. The intensity with which the game was played for the first 15 minutes was missing. But Virat Kohli was a busy bee, running from one end to the other, switching roles, as he relentlessly chased the ball. Sensing that his team-mates were taking the warm-up exercise lightly, he shouted: "C'mon guys, play it like real men."
For Virat, there are no half measures in life, not certainly in cricket. He is the face of brave new India, which not only knows what it wants, but also how to get there.
Long ear-marked as the future of Indian cricket, Virat has shown that he will play for the country for a long time in all three formats.
Over the last one month, he has shown that he has got what it takes to take over from Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Unlike Dhoni, Virat is aggressive, not afraid to show his emotions. After Thursday's nine-wicket drubbing of Zimbabwe, which gave India a 4-0 lead, Virat made his intentions clear; "Winning 5-0 is our aim. We want to end on a high and go home with smile on the face."
During the current series, there have been occasions when Virat has shown leadership qualities. During the first ODI, with India off to a shaky start and Ambati Rayudu for company, Virat showed maturity.
Playing his first game, Rayudu was nervous and had played and missed quite a few times. Virat stepped in to calm Rayudu, who is three years older.
"He's playing the best cricket possible," said Rayudu of Virat. "I feel he's the best in the world right now in the one-day format. He made it a lot easier for me, and I was looking at the way he was constructing his innings - it's a good learning experience," said Rayudu.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.