Reporting from India, Osman Samiuddin provides his latest diary entry from the World T20 focusing on the burgeoning superstar status of Virat Kohli.
28th March, Delhi
The longer I have spent in India, the more I have been convinced that this World Twenty20 is less a global tournament and more a homecoming, or a coronation, of the next Indian cricket superstar.
Monday was spent in the afterglow of Virat Kohli’s majestic 51-ball 82 against Australia in Mohali, an innings that holds its place comfortably alongside any of the greatest Twenty20 innings of all time.
I met a person in Delhi on Monday who had switched off the TV once India had lost two wickets and looked to be out of their chase. They went to sleep mildly irritated that India were going to lose and be knocked out of the event. They said they are unlikely to turn the TV off the next time Kohli is in charge of a chase.
It was the kind of innings a nation expects and dreams of from its star cricketer. It had all the ingredients too: a tough target, a tough start, a competitive opponent (if one still not completely au fait with the format), at one stage a struggling partner and finally the end in the company of a man widely considered one of the best chasers of all time, a man who is currently the captain and a man who is now in the process of handing over his crown to Kohli.
MS Dhoni thought it was “an incredible innings” and there can be no higher praise given how many incredible innings he has himself played. Dhoni was especially impressed by how Kohli absorbed the potentially ruinous effect of an injured Yuvraj Singh.
Not only did he make up for the runs he could not take because Yuvraj could not run them, he restrained himself from going too early for the kill — he waited till the 18th and 19th overs before ending it in a rush of the most sublime boundary-hitting imaginable.
Twenty20 is the future of cricket, and it seems brightest in India, the land of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Kohli, just as Sachin Tendulkar and ODIs before him, is the man who will take us there.
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