When it comes to Virat Kohli, object to the hero worship, not the hero

Posted by
2 minute read


Perspective is rarely so absent as in the immediate aftermath of a successful Indian run chase. Even so, the plaudits for Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 82 off 51 against Australia were… let’s go with ‘fulsome’.

Fox Sports called him an ‘absolute freak’ because a freak’s a good thing these days.  Sourav Ganguly said the batsman was the ‘greatest chaser by far’.

Alex Hales described the innings as ‘different level,’ while Michael Vaughan was one of many to call him a genius – although being Michael Vaughan he did it with a hashtag.

On Twitter, the general public had some sort of ‘All-Time Most Hyperbolic Hyperbole In History… EVER’ competition – although most people just went with ‘too good’ because most people are crap at hyperbole and instead just repeat things they’ve heard other people say.

Interestingly, Shah Rukh Khan called him ‘a very well-mannered kid’ which basically sounds like a diss when set against everything else. Amitabh Bachchan did better. He said Kohli had been ‘brilliance times infinity’.

Cricinfo tapped into the general mood with an article entitled ‘Emotional’ Kohli rates Mohali knock his best, based on a quote from the post-match presentation when he evalutated his innings thus: “It certainly has to be in the top three. Probably the top right now, because I’m a bit emotional.”

Odd that it should be Kohli himself who should identify that lack of perspective.

Kohli is an extremely effective T20 batsman. Websites that can be bothered will give you the stats should you require them. However, he’s not as good as all of the above gushing might imply, for the simple reason that no-one is and no-one ever has been.

Your response to it may therefore be to roll your rheumy, jaundiced old eyes and yearn to see Virat taken down a peg or two. But that’s probably not fair. Whisper it, but Virat Kohli’s basically all right.

The rage!

As we’ve mentioned before, no-one on earth is as enraged by their own sporting success as Kohli. It’s as if he concluded that human emotions were an on-field distraction and after paring them all back found he still needed to retain one to function with rage being all that remained.

Opposition batsman acting up: anger. Opposition batsman behaving himself: anger. Guilty of throwing away his wicket via a stupid shot: anger. Reached a magnificent hundred in what promises to be a match-winning innings: anger.

But that’s on the field. It’s but a part of the man. Off it, he’s capable of dignity, thoughtfulness and humility (albeit the last of those to the point of arse-kissiness). He can even smile.

Virat Kohli’s not your best mate and you probably won’t ever go to the pub with him, but he’s not actually a complete dick and he doesn’t ask for people to talk about him in such a way that you want to lamp him one.

So stop fantasising about lamping him one. Instead fantasise about a world in which everyone’s a bit less frenzied about paying tribute after every half-decent performance.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Can I still fantasise about lamping Chris Gayle one?

    Actually, make that “fantasise about someone else lamping Chris Gayle one”. He’s bigger than me.

  2. It’s almost as if everybody wants to get through with their gushing hyperbole 3000 word essay before India get eliminated in S/F vs windies (featuring a Marlon Samuels Mankad of Kohli for zero maybe?)

    It’s a good thing there is a gap between the super10 & knockouts allowing more people to slip in their praise before Kohli inevitably starts his slide to mortal ranks after having created a new record for being jinxed by most number of people.

    1. A world cup semi final in India, featuring India against another team whose players make more money out of the IPL than from the meager contract offered by their own board has only one possible outcome. Count on it.

      1. @wolf: You’re suggesting that the Australian players deliberately underperformed due to the IPL? Yes, and 9/11 was an inside job.

        Re Kohli — yes in India we hero worship batsmen. It’s a problem. No one talks about Nehra’s performance which basically brought us back into the game (before our top order made an easy chase difficult which eventually had to be rescued by Virat).

        Still, you have to admire the determination, the courage and the self-belief that it takes to play the way he does. What’s more it has shown that you can strike at 150 while still playing orthodox cricket — like Root did the other night.

      2. Indeed. When the required run-rate climbs, the tendency among many batsmen is to panic and try and belt boundaries. Kohli and Root just look for more twos.

  3. You are starting to sound like Daisy in the matter of Virat Kohli, KC. That’s not good.

    There’s something between someone I want to lamp and someone I think is basically all right. Quite a lot of space, actually. It’s one of those venn diagrams with two circles that do not overlap at all but have quite a big gap between the circles.

    Virat Kohli occupies some of that space between the circles. So does Chris Gayle.

    You are in one of the circles, KC. Giles Clarke is in the other.

    I don’t think that Giles Clarke is basically all right.

  4. You are the best at tempering things down, KC! The absolute best in the whole multiverse! #KC#ultimatetonerdowner#middlegroundmaharaja

  5. Perspective is equally absent when England do well in any sport. Or Australia. Probably applies to a lot more teams and players. Every other week there is a different bestest batsman in the world, hardly restricted to Kohli alone.

    This blog itself has been lacking in perspective when some English players play well
    http://www.kingcricket.co.uk/alastair-cook-endurance-batsman/2012/07/19/ – I think Amla alone scored as much as the England team in that match.

    http://www.kingcricket.co.uk/we-worry-for-alastair-cooks-skin/2013/11/06/ – For scoring a 100 in a warm up game! Didn’t really have to worry about his skin in the series that followed, he saved it by throwing his team mate under the bus.

    Those are just about Alastair Cook, a player whose game hardly lends itself to any hyperbole.

    1. How dare you accuse the home of Lord Megachief of Gold of hyperbole.

      And you take that back. Alastair Cook bats like a silky prince – especially in the shorter formats from which he is now inexplicably excluded.

Comments are closed.