Virat Kohli is in a special space of confidence, method and inevitability. His metamorphosis from an under-19 talent to a world class player has been reassuring.
His success underlines the belief in junior cricket. It is not often that one observes a predictable evolution of a player from the under-19 stables without the obstacles of form, fitness or ability. Kohli has brought about a sense of faith and belief in the age-group structure. He is a great advertisement for under-19 cricket.
Ajinkya Rahane has slowly but surely gained strength and a feeling of being wanted after his performances abroad.
After prolific run-making in domestic cricket over the years, one wondered if he would be another wooden-spooned cricketer.
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Rejection is a bitter pill to swallow. Rahane didn’t get enough opportunities to hold centre stage in franchise cricket till he moved to Rajasthan Royals. Here he showcased his technique in the shortest format and yet produced results in T20 gigs. The blend caught the eye of the purists and Rahane got what he rightfully deserved.
I dare say Kohli and Rahane will form the backbone of India’s middle order in years to come. Much like the Gavaskar-Viswanath or Tendulkar-Dravid partnerships these two will be the most discussed in opposition team meetings over the next few years.
Rohit Sharma continues to be an enigmatic batsman. He will always be a point of discussion with regard to talent versus numbers. He will, as time has shown, go from the sublime to the ridiculous. As soon as he addresses that he might be the third pillar of Indian batting.
Till then every lover of balanced batting will wait in hope.
Indian cricket has taken a bit of a battering playing away from home. From the driver’s seat, we have often been relegated to the booth. While one can look at coaching staff, the fact is the players on the field have failed to take 20 wickets.
Reluctance to bat first in unfamiliar conditions has not helped in seizing initiatives.
This comes from a lack of faith in one’s skills in combating alien conditions. The comfort zone of playing at home needs to be shed on overseas tours.
(The writer is former Mumbai captain)