Virat Kohli – India’s performer of the year

2012 saw a young turk making his presence felt, retirements galore as well as internal team controversies that saw former captains forced to sit out before making their comebacks. These are the cricket-related personalities who made the headlines this year.

Virat Kohli had proven his talent long ago. As the previous year’s highest scorer in ODIs, he had also demonstrated his capability to shine on the international stage. So just how did 2012 become the year of Virat Kohli?

For one, Kohli showed that he had the ability to focus on his game.  Till recently the brash batsman from Delhi was more in the news for his angry young man attitude and lavish lifestyle. Reacting to abusive crowds with the middle finger and to his own dismissals with a selection of expletives didn’t exactly earn him brownie points.

Things changed when India’s new star decided to let his bat do all the talking instead. He was the architect of famous wins in the CB series triangular and in the Asia Cup, bringing India back from the brink of nowhere. He conquered bouncy tracks and hostile bowlers in Australia while all the other established batting legends were struggling to get bat to ball. His performance Down Under cemented his place in the Test side and he was India’s lone positive from the tour.

What further marked Virat’s coming of age, was his ability to master all three formats of the sport. In an era of specialisation, Kohli alone stands out from the new brigade as someone who has seamlessly blended into Tests, ODIs and T20 cricket without having to alter his game.  He has a sound technique against the quicks and spinners alike, but never misses out on the opportunity to play his shots.

With consistency as his watchword and a brief stint as vice-captain under his belt, Kohli is now being touted as the natural successor to both Sachin Tendulkar (as batsman) and MS Dhoni (as captain). Big boots, indeed.

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