Mental toughness sets Virat apart

Mental toughness sets Virat apart

By SAJI CHACKO | NEW DELHI | 30 April, 2016
Virat Kohli
Experts feel it’s his mental toughness coupled with the correct pacing of his innings that makes him such a tough customer.
Virat Kohli is the world’s best  batsman in the T 20 format.  His phenomenal record over the past two months in which he slammed his maiden ton in the IPL tie against Gujarat Lions last Sunday, 24 April, proves this fact. A cursory glance at his last 14 innings reveal that he has scored  eight half centuries and a ton—which is nothing short of a marvel.
Virat’s  frenzied run blitz  across tournaments like the Asia Cup, the World T20 and now the IPL  has made both purists and lovers of the game search the reasons as to why the Delhi Dasher is the best in the business. His ability to come good under the most testing times has seen the experts attribute a variety of reasons for this good showing.
“I think what separates Virat from the rest is his strong mental approach,” felt Mohinder Amarnath, former India batsman and a selector. He has that fierce determination to succeed and he is mentally very strong. No matter how much a bowler might try to intimidate him he has refused to be cowed down. I think this trait is what makes him so competitive,” explained Amarnath.
Another reason why Virat  is so good is that he takes virtually no time to settle in. “Most batsmen, no matter however great they are, take some time to settle. But this does not happen with Virat,” said another cricketer. “He (Virat)  has a different approach altogether,” the cricketer added.
The cricketer went on to add that normally most batsmen would try to be circumspect and careful. But Virat tries to dominate the bowler early on—realising that he has to win the mind game early on. So the fact remains that while Virat may not go for rash shots, he ensures that the runs keep coming.  He does this by running hard between the wickets and also playing his normal shots. I think it is this positive approach that helps him to get so many runs,” said the cricketer.
His immense concentration also allows him to be so consistent. “I am of the view that Virat is such a prolific scorer because he is able to concentrate.  Nothing seems to affect him—the vociferous crowd, the sledging by the rival fielders, nor the bowlers’s efforts to get him distracted. He is so sure about what he has to do once he enters the crease. This makes it very difficult to get Virat out,”  said another cricketer.  
Virat Kohli’s uncanny sense of timing is what makes all the difference, felt Sunil Walson, a member of India’s World Cup winning team. “To me what sets him apart from most batsmen in contemporary cricket is his terrific timing. He is not the hardest hitters of the cricket ball but he makes it up with his great timing—in a way he is gifted by his excuisite timing which makes him so special,” said Valson.
Virat’s ability to pace his innings is another major factor as to why he is able to be such a prolific scorer. “He starts slowly and then shifts gear very fast,” said a Delhi cricketer who has played along with Virat. “He is able to pace himself properly and wades into his big shots just at the right time. There is no panic of any sort and even if he is not able to score freely initially, Virat ensures that he keeps the scoreboard ticking by running hard singles and twos. I think he is very intelligent and paces his innings in the ideal way. This I feel is the key to his big scores,” summed up the Delhi cricketer.

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