Kohli's stel­lar show prompts com­par­isons with Ten­dulkar

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

In­dian great Sachin Ten­dulkar re­mains the gold stan­dard of bat­ting in the post-Brad­man era but Vi­rat Kohli's lat­est master­class in Sun­day's World Twenty20 shootout against Aus­tralia has prompted com­par­isons with his fa­mous com­pa­triot.

Not for the first time in the tour­na­ment, it took Kohli's mas­terly knock to get In­dia across the line in a vir­tual quar­ter-fi­nal against the reign­ing 50-overs world cham­pi­ons.

Kohli re­mained un­beaten af­ter a sub­lime 82, bur­nish­ing his rep­u­ta­tion as ar­guably the best chaser in lim­ited-overs cricket with a knock that re­minded many of Ten­dulkar's 143 against Aus­tralia in a 1998 one-dayer at Shar­jah dubbed "desert storm".

Shane Warne was at the re­ceiv­ing end of Ten­dulkar's wrath in that match and 18 years since the con­test, the Aus­tralian spin great saw Ten­dulkar's shadow in Kohli's lat­est knock.

"Great knock by @imVkohli Re­minded me of one of your many spe­cial in­nings buddy," Warne tweeted to his great ri­val Ten­dulkar af­ter Kohli se­cured In­dia a place in the semi-fi­nals on Sun­day.

Kohli be­jew­elled his knock with two sixes and nine bound­aries and sprinted tire­lessly be­tween wick­ets in a flaw­less dis­play of lim­ited overs bat­ting un­der tremen­dous pres­sure.

He mid­dled ev­ery ball, timed his shots with sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion and found gaps with eerie reg­u­lar­ity to stamp his class.

"Of the mod­ern play­ers,

I've al­ways thought that Brian Lara was the best placer of the ball," for­mer Aus­tralia cap­tain Ian Chappell told www.espncricinfo.com.

"I think I have got Brian in sec­ond spot now." The West In­dian bat­ting great was also bowled by what he saw and re­quested videos of Kohli's early days, hail­ing the In­dian as the "best timer of a cricket ball" that he has seen.

At 27, Kohli stands on the brink of bat­ting great­ness with 36 in­ter­na­tional cen­turies against his name and av­er­ages of 44 in tests, 51 in one­day­ers and 55 in Twenty20 matches.

It has been a fas­ci­nat­ing trans­for­ma­tion of a Delhi crick­eter per­ceived ini­tially as yet an­other brash brat from the streets of a city long ac­cused of in­cul­cat­ing ag­gres­sion in its youth.

Since Kohli's in­ter­na­tional de­but in a one­dayer against Sri Lanka eight years ago, Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni has closely watched the tat­too-wear­ing, blunt-speak­ing, heart-on-hissleeve young­ster trans­form into a ma­ture matchwinner.

Kohli hates the idea of an on-field con­fronta­tions that doesn't in­clude him and Dhoni ar­gued it suits the player who suc­ceeded him as In­dia's Test cap­tain.

"He will al­ways be the same," Dhoni said af­ter the vic­tory in Mo­hali.

"He will be an ag­gres­sive char­ac­ter who will be ready to take on chal­lenges and he will be ag­gres­sive on the field.

"But he will also im­prove. He is shift­ing in the right di­rec­tion but he is a tremen­dous char­ac­ter. He should not lose his char­ac­ter be­cause that's what his strength is."

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