King Kohli and Skipper Rohit sign off from top of the World

Saturday Night shall always remain deeply etched in the minds of every Indian, and all cricket lovers round the world. It was not without a reason that Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and the rest of the Men in Blue made sure that India did not allow the T-20 World Cup to slip out of their […]

Saturday Night shall always remain deeply etched in the minds of every Indian, and all cricket lovers round the world. It was not without a reason that Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and the rest of the Men in Blue made sure that India did not allow the T-20 World Cup to slip out of their hands. The only team to remain invincible throughout the tournament played in North America and the Caribbean. It was also a consolation for coming so close to winning the One Day International championship played back home, where India lost to the ultimate victors, Australia, after performing magnificently in all games before the ultimate one.

The finals were also a crowning glory for Kohli and Rohit, amongst the finest players in the world as also the ever-dependable Rahul Dravid, who after failing to win an ICC tournament, finally got the boys he coached, to get past the final hurdle at Barbados. The trio and the rest of the team were flooded with congratulatory messages, including the one from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and their feat was hailed by the entire cricketing world. The final was not about winning but also about the character shown by the boys, who overcame all limitations and held their nerve to outperform another brilliant side, South Africa.

It was expected that Virat Kohli would be calling it quits in T-20 internationals after the finals and thus when the announcement came following his interview on being declared the Man of the Match, it took his fans down the memory lane. Rohit Sharma, who proved to be one of the best Captains, India has had, also made a similar declaration leaving the way for upcoming youngsters to fill the void and take the country forward from now onwards. Rohit sparkled in the game leading to the final while Kohli had reserved his very best for his farewell match. Both these players have had a healthy rivalry as well, but their objective has always been to keep the country first and serve the overall interests of the team. Kohli is regarded by Cricket lovers as the best player to play the game after Sachin Tendulkar.

Comparisons are always difficult to make and sustain, since the circumstances differ in each era, and the conditions alter as the rules also undergo a change.

Having been a fan of this great game, I have no hesitation in stating that while Tendulkar and Kohli have been widely regarded as exceptional batsmen, my vote would always be for the incomparable Sunil Gavaskar, who along with Dilip Sardesai ushered in the renaissance of Indian cricket in the most difficult conditions back in the West Indies in 1971. Gavaskar’s hallmark was that he had a unique technique to survive the incomparable quickies as also score runs. Till the last stages of his career, he never wore any protective gear, and also towards the end, only supported a steel ring under his panama hat, while dispatching some of the greatest bowlers to the fence.

Having witnessed his 29th century at the Ferozeshah Kotla where he overcame the ferocious Malcolm Marshal, Sunny, as he was called his teammates, drew level with the iconic Don Bradman’s record. He continues to serve the game as an expert commentator, and his perspective on every situation is always educative and perceptive.

India has produced many other unbelievable players, many of whom, with no support possessed natural talent and made their valuable contribution. There were many greats, Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, Vinoo Mankad, Polly Umrigar and Salim Durrani besides the spin quartet of Prasanna, Chandrashekhar, Bedi and Venkaraghvan. Subsequently Kapil Dev and his men left their mark. In the past two decades, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Srinath, Kumble and Dhoni have their names carved out in golden letters in the annals of our Cricket saga. Kohli has been the most outstanding player of the current era and has performed exceedingly well in every format of the game.

He loves accepting challenges and is always there to contribute on the biggest stage whenever it is required. His love for Cricket came to fore when he delayed going to the funeral of his father since there was a game to be won at the Kotla. This unflinching dedication had caught the eye of the Cricket administrators, who saw both determination and intent in his approach to the game. He also earned the respect of his contemporaries by his performance and ensured that he kept his fitness levels at par with the international standards.

It is no wonder that he is amongst the highest earning sportspersons internationally and as a tribute to him, his larger-than-life image was put up by his admirers at the Times Square in New York. Rohit Sharma is very calm as the Captain and has played this role even as a good leader of men for his Mumbai team in the IPL. He has talent and his explosive batting can rip any opposition apart. He would have gone even further if he had received many opportunities earlier in his career. Like Kohli, he too shall leave behind a rich legacy in the T-20 Internationals. The upcoming stars, Hardik Pandeya, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakant Yadav, Mohammd Siraj, Arshdeep Singh, Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant, all talk in superlative terms so far as Kohli and Rohit are concerned. India is on the top of the world and it is for the new breed of cricketers to take over from Kohli and Rohit to ensure that the men in blue dominate the game.