Are you ready for another story on Virat Kohli? It seems every piece related to cricket these days is being woven around the Indian captain. Can you really blame the writer though? It doesn't seem so. The kind of form that Kohli has been in for the past couple of years and especially in the ongoing one, it is difficult to ignore his on-field exploits. Take the matter of him becoming the fastest man ever to reach 10,000 ODI runs against West Indies in Vizag on Wednesday. And as if just to show that he can, the skipper also notched his 37th ODI century in the same match. There is no way you can ignore these feats even if you choose to stay away from checking his Instagram feed every now and then!
While becoming the newest member of the exclusive 10k club, Kohli broke his idol and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar's record of being the quickest to get there. The interesting fact here is that while the latter took 259 innings to reach the milestone, the former took 54 innings fewer which means he bettered Tendulkar's record by almost 21 per cent. Some have equated this to bettering Usain Bolt's 100m world record of 9.58 seconds by a whole 2 seconds! Is that even humanly possible? - you might ask.
Well for Kohli, such questions are immaterial. Here's why. Tendulkar scored a total of 18,426 runs in ODIs spread across a whopping 463 matches. At the rate that Kohli is scoring in ODIs (his current ODI average is 59.62), he is sure to pass Tendulkar's mountain of runs in the coming years. The latter's record of 49 centuries won't stand the test of time either as the skipper is just 13 away from crossing it. In 2018 alone, Kohli is scoring at an astronomical average of 149 while getting out on a sub-50 score just twice in 11 innings. I think it's fair to say that Kohli will end up as the greatest ODI batsman of all time once he calls time on his career in the next decade.
All of this seems quite maddening at first glance. But there is a method to Kohli's madness. He may lack the flair of a De Villiers and the brute force of a Chris Gayle but the Delhi-born batsman has shown that he can be equally effective when the situation presents itself. The two ODIs that have been played in the ongoing five-match series against the West Indies are a case in point.
While in the first ODI, Kohli took the role of the aggressor and scored a quickfire 140 while chasing a huge score, in the second one he mostly played the anchor role till the slog overs and then went berserk hitting four sixes to boost the Indian innings. This and many more examples from the past show that not only is he a great batsman but also a keen reader of the game and possesses the required flexibility to adapt his game according to the situation.
Don't be fooled though. Kohli is not merely a batsman or a captain nowadays. He has transformed himself into a phenomenon. The amount of ease with which he scores his runs and posts tons after tons borders on being absolutely ridiculous. Becoming the world's best batsman before reaching your 30th birthday while having hundreds for breakfast, lunch and dinner means we are witness to one of the greatest sporting phenomena ever. The truth is there is no escaping the phenom that Kohli is in cricket unless humankind finds ways to settle on Mars before he retires. It should be fun while it lasts.