Virat Kohli was named man-of-the-match after his 14th ODI half-century guided India to a comfortable seven-wicket win over the West Indies in the second one-day international at Port of Spain.
After making his debut for India in August 2008, Kohli was seen as a brash and even arrogant teenager, one whose own attitude was his greatest obstacle to success.
Nearly three years later and all that has changed, with India’s number three cutting a mature and relaxed figure, one who is at ease with his own game and is focused on scoring runs rather than the fame associated with doing so.
In his knock of 81 against the Windies in Trinidad, Kohli significantly passed the mark of 2000 ODI runs – the third fastest Indian player to do so and all at the tender age of just 22.
“It’s about realising that every opportunity is as important as the next one or previous one,” said a calm and confident Kohli after Wednesday’s victory.
“Not everyone gets an opportunity to play for India. It’s a big honour for me. I have realised that massively in the last one and half years. I want to give 100% and make use of every opportunity.
Initially, in my ODI career, I made rash mistakes with my rush of blood at important times,” he admitted.
“If you keep doing it, you are not going to get the opportunity. I enjoy my batting these days. Especially during a chase I know what I have to do, rotate the strike.”
Instead of being put out by the constant questioning of his attitude at the start of his career, Kohli has used the criticism to his advantage and translated that into consistent runs for India and a first Test call-up for the series against the West Indies.
“I think I have answered that too much,” he said of the criticism of his early swagger. “But I have enjoyed answering that question every time. I feel good with myself for having changed what people did not like initially and then transform into that performances. I feel good about it but it’s not something I want to be too proud of and get relaxed. I don’t want to get complacent. The whole point in changing from that kind of attitude to this current attitude to perform consistently. I want to keep going.”
As a talented 22-year-old with the world at his feet, Kohli is inevitably drawing comparisons to a couple of his legendary teammates. He is, however, quick to point out that a comparison between himself and the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag is meaningless.
“Those guys have been there, done that. It has taken a lot of time to reach where they are. There is no point in comparing oneself to them. Everyone has their own style of batting. I admire them but there is no use batting like them.
Take the first match of the World Cup. If I had tried to bat like Viru, I would have perhaps ended up scoring 40. They have a special ability that has made them legends of the game. There is no point in doing what is not my strength.” Cricket365