India cricket captain Virat Kohli's willingness to constantly improve has seen him touch dizzying heights
The India skipper notched up his second Test ton of the series and 23rd overall on day three at Trent Bridge as he put his side in a commanding position.
The 29-year-old has well and truly banished his demons from the 2014 tour of the country where he mustered only 134 runs in 10 innings.
After his latest display at Trent Bridge, he now has 440 runs in six innings in the series at an average over 73. For reference, the second highest run-scorer in the series is England’s Jonny Bairstow with 206 runs while the next best Indian batsman is Hardik Pandya with 160 runs.
After the completion of the Trent Bridge Test, the India man is poised to once again overtake Australia’s Steve Smith and take the top spot in the ICC rankings for batsmen.
Following India’s 2014 tour of England, question marks remained over Kohli’s Test credentials even though the world had started to accept his greatness in the limited-overs formats.
Since that series though, there has been a sea of change in Kohli’s approach in the five-day format. When the 2014 series ended, Kohli had six Test tons to his name from 29 matches. In comparison, Joe Root had five tons to his name from 22 matches at the same point.
Now, four years later, Kohli has notched up another 17 centuries in the 40 matches to follow. Root, meanwhile, has only been able to add eight more tons to his name in the 50 matches he has played since.
In this period, Kohli was the second highest run-getter behind Smith in India’s 2014-15 tour of Australia with 692 runs, the highest scorer in the side’s 2018 tour of South Africa with 292 runs and is on course to finish as the highest run-getter in England.
It is Kohli’s relentless drive to be the very best that has set him apart from the rest of the pack. Always seeking for ways to constantly improve himself and push new barriers, the batsman has left no stone unturned in his quest for greatness.
It all started with Kohli’s disappointing campaign for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2012 IPL. Bogged down by his own poor performance, the Delhi-born man drastically changed his training regime in order to become fitter.
“My training was horrible, I ate so bad, I was up until late, I was having a drink or two regularly. It was a horrible mindset. The season ended and I was so thankful it was over. I went home, came out of the shower one day and looked at myself in the mirror and said, you can’t look like this if you want to be a professional cricketer,” Kohli had told Telegraph India.
Now, he is undoubtedly one of the fittest cricketers in the world and a supreme athlete.
In the 2014 series in England, his susceptibility around the off-stump was horribly exposed by James Anderson. That he looks much more assured in that area in the current series is another example of his willingness to constantly improve.
When he returned from England in 2014, Kohli conducted a one-on-one nets session with his idol Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai in order to identify his flaws. He changed his batting stance and has reaped the rewards in the overseas tours to follow.
There is nothing more gratifying as a fan than to see a sportsman with extreme dedication to his craft reap the fruits of his labour. That is exactly what Kohli is doing currently and we are indeed privileged to watch him as he continues his march to greatness.