New Zealand’s former captain Martin Crowe came out in heavy praise for India’s prodigy Virat Kohli. He also went out to say that the talented batsman was a rare mix of batting stalwarts Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.
“In some ways, this young giant (Kohli) is a combination of all those three (Sehwag, Tendulkar and Dravid), learning a bit from them all to shape his own unique creation. He is the next chosen one. He exudes the intensity of Rahul, the audacity of Virender, and the extraordinary range of Sachin. That doesn’t make him better, simply sui generis, his own unique kind,” said Crowe in a column on ESPNCricinfo.
“At present, he is a beacon in this rebuilding team, while some of those around him who have come in to fill the void left by the big three struggle to cope. Already he is the leader of the batting line-up, with just 22 Tests to his name, and so a huge responsibility beckons,” Crowe added.
Crowe was expectant that Kohli would soon turn into master, now that he already had turned from ‘pupil to teacher’.
“In many ways, he follows the essence of life: loving what he does and doing what he loves, and learning all he can, often at a rapid pace. Kohli has gone from pupil to teacher quickly, and his next level is to become a master. That he will achieve. It’s in his eyes.”
“I watched this young 19-year-old when he joined Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008, for the inaugural IPL. Often he fell victim to his own seduction, his growing, glowing image, mixed in with his confusion about who to bat and be like, as he had so many choices. I often encouraged him to simply play straighter, be wiser in shot selection, put the odds more in his favour,” Crowe said.
The former New Zealand captain also added that Kohli should control his aggression if not subdue it completely.
“He will need to learn rapidly that to be a true leader and role model to millions all over the globe, the ugly stuff needs to be tamed, even put away…. It’s an important lesson, one Sachin and Rahul will have taught him, yet his own restlessness is still dominant. Someone needs to guide him on this vital code.”
Crowe also called Kohli’s audacity ‘shameless’ and cautioned him lest he may end up like Virendra Sehwag. ”Kohli’s audacity is shameless. He is bold and beautiful in his shot selection and his style. When in the mood, he can carve anyone apart, just as Sehwag did when awoken. Kohli will need to be reminded of Sehwag, that temporary loss of form that came in patches and grew to become one patch at the end.”