Every generation has that one player who becomes an icon.
That one player who goes beyond the game, records, and his skill. The icons are not generally the perfect players. Most often, there are other players who are better than them at different points of time. But it is the personality of the person that elevates them from a good player to an icon.
In the 70s, there was Sunil Gavaskar. Batting without a helmet, he smashed the most fearsome bowling attack of all time for 13 centuries, the most against a team after Don Bradman.
In the 80s, there was Kapil Dev. A seemingly rustic man who could deliver with the ball or bat on a good day. On his best days, he was good with both.
The 90s had Sachin Tendulkar. The boy wonder who grew up into a man, and represented the growing status of a nation that was making its mark on the global map.
The 2000s had Sehwag, that mad, mad man who adhered to no rules in particular, did what he wanted, and generally reduced the opponents to tears.
The 2010s, in that sense, belongs to one man, and one man only – Virat Kohli.
Here’s why Kohli is all set to be the iconic player of this generation.
1. There’s simply no one better than him at this point:
Even though he might be going through a slump right now, Virat Kohli has left everybody else far behind when it comes to batting statistics. He has won more matches than anybody else, and has scored more runs.
Since 2010, Virat Kohli has been going through a purple patch, inevitably performing in crucial matches, fourth innings, and while chasing down the opponent’s target batting second. If you still have any doubts about Kohli’s contribution in the last five years, here’s all you need to know:
2. He plays rough, is a No-Bullshit player
In earlier times, importance was given not only to how good a player you were, but how much of a gentleman you were off it. Credit was given for being a gentleman, for upholding the spirit of cricket, and for being polite to opponents. Then, Steve Waugh took over the captaincy of the Australian team. Since then, cricket hasn’t been the same.
Virat Kohli is the primary example of a cricketer of the modern era. An era that has neither the time nor the patience to be polite. A match has to be won, pressure has to be applied, and it needs to be done, and he’ll do it.
3. Captaincy Material:
For long, our best players weren’t the captains. Azhar and Ganguly led Sachin during his best phase, Kapil and Gavaskar famously had tiffs between the two of them regarding captaincy, resulting in a musical chairs of sorts.
Kohli, however has proven that he is more than ready to take over as captaincy. Having captained his team in Under 19 and domestic cricket, Kohli began his stint as captain during the Australian tour impressively, slamming four centuries in his first four Tests as captain.
As we move towards a new era in cricket laced with different morals, Kohli seems the apt person to take over the reins of Indian cricket.
4. Representative of the youth of the country:
In earlier times, cricketers kept their personal lives away from media glare. Even if a large number of cricketers had affairs, they kept it hidden, or refused to acknowledge it publicly.
However, Virat Kohli has been open and forthcoming about it right from the beginning. This is representative of a new India, one that is not afraid to come out in the open about their relationships, one that doesn’t see it as taboo anymore. He and Anushka Sharma speak for each other, and support their respective professional careers.
However, whether India as a nation is ready for this, is still another matter altogether. From being mobbed and abused on Twitter, to being blamed for all his failures, Anushka and Virat Kohli have been facing the brunt for keeping their relationship open.
5. Not afraid to speak his mind
Unlike other players, Virat Kohli is unafraid to speak his mind about an issue. Whether it is asking fans to think before they abuse, or about his thoughts on a particular issue, Virat Kohli is not afraid to speak honestly about any particular issue.
In fact, after his spat with Mitchell Johnson in 2014, he told the media that he doesn’t respect Johnson. Hardly something that someone from the Gavaskarean era would do. Almost Australian in this sense, Virat Kohli seems like a serious, honest, and unafraid individual, and this has all the makings of a role model for the children of today.
Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Virat Kohli is the face of Indian cricket for the next few years. Since he rarely seems to be out of form, here’s wishing him lots of success and happiness on his 27th birthday.