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A sense of detachment for personal milestones – that’s the theory that Kohli loves to preach, probably he practises it too. Even on Monday at Eden Gardens, when the new master of Indian cricket was closing in on that 50th international century, it was the same nonchalance that characterised his batting.
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In his 90s, he was giving himself room and playing over the top. It was quite clear the team had a time in mind for declaration. At 97, he looked at the dressing-room, as if to ask “Should I declare?” and it was coach Ravi Shastri who signalled him to play one more over to complete the century.
“It feels good. But if I can step up and perform, that will give me more pleasure than thinking of the number of hundreds. That will remain the mindset till I play this game,” Kohli explained after the match.
Kohli says “it hasn’t been a long journey” yet, but for the Indian cricket fan, it has been a memorable one. Making his international debut nine years back, the Delhi boy has moved at a breakneck speed. In fact, his first international century came at the Eden Gardens nine years back against Sri Lanka in an ODI, and it was fitting that he got his 50th at the historic venue.
While he took to limited-overs cricket the way Rafael Nadal dealt with Roland Garros, Kohli always aspired to be India’s No. 4 in Tests. There was a sense of symbolism when Sachin Tendulkar got out the last time in a Test, it was Kohli who came out to replace him in the middle. They crossed paths, as if an imaginary baton passed, and since then, barring England, the Indian captain has been unstoppable all around the world.
There are cricket pundits like Michael Atherton who believe that Kohli is more effective than Tendulkar in his prime. That’s a debatable theory but people have started to believe that he can climb Mount 100. Kohli will be 30 next year and there are bound to be less consistent phases in the days to come, but Kohli seems to be preparing for that.
His hard fitness regime, his incredibly low carb diet – all these are aimed to keep him in supreme shape at a time when the body starts playing a few tricks. “Kohli has taken his fitness to a completely different level. That’s why I don’t see him faltering due to issues related to fitness in the coming years,” K Srikkanth, who was the chairman of selectors when Kohli was first picked for India, told TOI.
But all that’s post intermission. For now, it’s all about marvelling at a fantastic first half.
Source : timesofindia