It's been a while.... Well, this can be said both for the blogger and the astounding personality this piece of writing is gonna be about! It's time we finally talk about one of the most riveting personalities of this wonderful sport, whose recent exploits ain't much of a wonder and makes one ponder what future has in store for the superstar!!
The rise of the conqueror
Just being back after successfully leading Team India to triumph at the Under 19 World Cup held in Malaysia, a young Virat received a surprise call-up to the Indian squad for the ODI series in Sri Lanka. The newly recognised talent scored his first 50 in the series, but couldn't cement his place in the squad. This was due to stiff competition from the likes of well-established players like Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, etc. But the man kept working hard and started making impacts whenever given a chance.
His career got a much-needed boost at the 2011 World Cup. India won the cup after 28 long years and Virat scored an impressive total of 282 runs in nine matches, with a fifty and century each. Such exposure proved to be instrumental for his game and with some senior players stepping out, he had strongly claimed a place in the limited overs side.
Riding through the waves
Virat's confidence and comfort at the International level was evident through his spirited character on the field. He consistently scored runs for the team in need and took attack to the opposition, no matter if it's the fiery Aussies or ferocious Proteas. His innings of 183 against Sri Lanka came in Sachin's last ODI match and many started recognising an able successor in him. He did not disappoint and made chasing challenging targets seem very easy, thus gaining the title of Chase Master.
Everything seemed to be going pretty well for the talented batter, until the flight landed in Nottingham to commence a 5-match Test series against England in 2014. The tour was touted to be a difficult one with Anderson in his prime, but it proved to be disastrous for Virat. He managed a measly 134 runs in 10 innings and couldn't manage to counter the swing and seam. Unlike the limited overs cricket, his calibre as a Test cricketer on foreign soil was yet to be proved. And the tour just increased his difficulties..
The Spectacular Redemption
Many were stunned by Virat's bizarre stint in England. The critics were harsh and advised to drop the man. Anyone could have submitted to that pressure but the team management backed him. And Virat did not disappoint! He worked tremendously hard on his fitness and changed his regimen to become better than ever. He got selected for Australia tour and man what a turn-around that tour proved to be! From captaining the1st test in Dhoni's absence, to Dhoni's sudden retirement and Virat becoming full-time Test captain, everything changed for him in a matter of 2-3 weeks. He scored 100s for fun in the series and amassed 692 runs in 4 Tests, asserting his dominance against Kangaroos in their own backyard. He ticked 593 runs on his return to English soil in 2018, with Jimmy never managing to break the shackles even once.
Over the years, the Indian team became unbeatable at home and developed a tremendous pool of pacers. The team started winning overseas more frequently, not to mention back-to-back Australian tour wins. The team is now regarded as a dangerous visiting side and the fitness has improved significantly. This team just seems to be never giving up even in the most crunch situations!
Well, 2016 was the year of Virat. 973 runs in IPL, multiple double centuries in Tests,continuous test series wins.. there was no looking back. Everything was just perfect. India reached 2 ICC finals and a semi-final under his leadership and the chatter began of Virat coming close to Sachin's record hundred 100s. The cricketing world started to feel the excitement. And that's when his fortune went a different direction...
Dilemma over the CUPs 👑
A captain is considered to be the commander and path influencer of his/her team. For Virat, it was a challenge to carry on the legacy left behind by MS Dhoni, especially in white-ball format. As far as test cricket is concerned, he has set a benchmark of his own as the best Indian red-ball captain and one of the legends to lead a team in test cricket all over the world.
But it was not same in the case of white-ball format. Even though India reached the Champions Trophy final and World Cup semi-final under his tenure, these achievements were not upto the expected lines. What followed it were some sudden decisions, miscommunication which we us as outsiders are not much aware of, but the world ultimately saw Virat being discharged of his duties as the Indian captain across formats, both willing and unwilling.
The Century Drought 😶🌫️
The most worrying thing right now for cricketing fans, especially Indians, is the lack of run-scoring from Virat's willow. It's been more than 2 years since he has scored an international ton. Being one of those who used to score centuries consistently, this is quite unusual. There have also been some concerns over his low strike-rate in T-20 cricket and his place in the side for the upcoming World Cup in Australia.
But the situation is considered to be way much worse than it actually is. Even though he is failing to score a ton in any format, the man doesn't seem to be losing any touch. The elegant stroke-play is perfectly in place and he has been notching up some good fifties in international cricket. The batter has been unlucky on some occasions but the spirit, resilience and fiery attitude on the field is still intact.
The batter seems to be doing everything in his control to gain the lost mojo and be the poster-boy of world cricket as he has always been. The man still has some years under his belt to serve not only Indian cricket but also develop the sport all over. So, let's hope for a positive change in fortunes for this man and enjoy this energetic ambassador of the sport entertain us all with his amazing exploits.
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Stay awesome and keep hitting!!