On Wednesday (6th September) Virat Kohli special killed the final Twenty20 (SL vs IND T20) game as a contest, He hit three centuries, two of them back-to-back in the ODIs, and three fifties in all since India landed in the third week of July. As Sri Lanka was not heaving a sigh of relief that the Indian cricket team skipper will finally board a flight for home.
Sri Lanka cricket team’s failed to win but they accepted the loss and with the interim positive attitude of the coach Nic Pothas, urged his players to learn from what they had seen of Virat Kohli.
In a week in Colombo humidity, Virat Kohli was feeling the effect of playing the third long innings. On Wednesday, he even took mini drinks breaks but didn’t stop from sprinting twos. Virat Kohli effect can be seen on every cricket team in the world, entering the discussion one way or other. He has set an example for players beyond his unit, Be it his aggressive batting while sticking to conventional shots or his fitness and competitiveness.
TOO DRAINED: He seemed to even struggle to stand, at one point of time but he with his chided partner Manish Pandey for not taking a second run. In the last two ODIs, he scored 131 and 110 not out and then said how fatigue forced him to take it a touch easy in the final game. But it was business as usual as long as he was in the middle.
Nic Pothas said his players can improve when asked whether he had spoken to the Indian camp for its help to revive Sri Lanka, as per him it was merely watching the 28-year-old rival skipper. Virat Kohli’s target peak fitness and play when given a chance, but still making those chances count, as his drive has convinced his players to buy into his approach.
There cannot be a better example for this than Manish Pandey, Pandey was there to hit the winning runs, who raised 119 runs with Kohli in the T20 game and hit his second fifty of the tour.
NATURAL LEADER: The youngest in the team (22), Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, with Virat Kohli’s form and approach said, after taking 2/20 at the Premadasa Stadium that “He is confident and a good leader. He just leads from the front and gives you everything you want on the field,”
“He comes and asks ‘what is your field’, and that is what bowlers want. He gives bowlers freedom. When I am bowling, Virat Bhai has given me tremendous support through the Tests and ODI series, and now too. I am very happy with this kind of team unity and leader.”
He further added that Virat Kohli wants India to overtake, the likes of Australia and South Africa and become the best fielding side. He said “ I like him, he is really a good leader, so if he leads from the front even when fielding. It is a motivation seeing him, even in every part of the field, wherever he is fielding, What we see on the field from him, we try to improve, even if by 1% what we are already doing. “I am very happy he talks to younger boys what he wants from them and what we need, It is the same for training and in the nets, or off the field. .”
EASING PRESSURE: It is easy to get anxious leaving the job for others to finish, When you are the best batsman in the side, but as the best at chasing a target, he has eased the pressure on the other batsmen. It is not just the younger lot. MS Dhoni, under pressure with the focus on his diminishing skills as a finisher, found the second wind in Sri Lanka.
In five matches on the trot Dhoni was unbeaten (45*, 67*, 49*, 1*, 1*). In the second ODI at Pallekele starting with his rescue act, Questions about his diminishing skills as a finisher have been put on hold at least for now.
In another 10 days, Australia will face India and will ask some tough questions. India’s middle-order shuffling is very much a work in progress. This Virat Kohli team will still take plenty to shake the confidence.