Virat Kohli slammed a brutal knock of 113 off 50 balls o Thursday night © AFP
Virat Kohli slammed a brutal knock of 113 off 50 balls o Thursday night in the IPL © AFP

Circa 2014-15. The cricket world acknowledged the rise of a few young batsmen and bestowed them with the responsibility of taking batting ahead. While these young batsmen have done tremendous hard work to establish themselves as firmly as indispensable for their respective teams, the Indian run-machine Virat Kohli has quashed all comparisons with his peers in only 18 months since the competition truly began, with his superlative batting. Kane Williamson, Steven Smith and Joe Root might be majestic in their capacities, but the way Kohli’s career has surged; it only looks daft to make comparisons or any sort. Kohli is easily miles ahead of his peers, across formats, and he is only 27. Full Cricket Scorecard: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2016 Match 50 at Bengaluru

IPL remains one of the most talked-about annual cricket tournaments. Those away from it watch it with envious eyes, while those who get the rare chance to be a part of it never miss any opportunity to thank their stars how lucky they have been. Some take it as a rare opportunity to improve their ‘white-ball cricket skills’ in high-pressure situations; some take it as a chance to comprehend T20 cricket at its best. There are different reasons for them to play IPL; they want to get better, they want to mingle with the best and learn, they want to make themselves famous. They all have reasons. And then there is Virat Kohli, who owns it like no one else. ALSO READ: Virat Kohli deservingly crowned IPL’s highest-run getter

Kohli is probably the most disciplined, hardworking and talented bloke on the circuit, who keeps toying with bowling attacks at will, without breaking a sweat. He has deservingly surpassed Suresh Raina as the highest run-scorer in the history of IPL, and it is not surprising at all to see Kohli smashing a record 4 centuries in the cash-rich tournament’s single season.

The batsmen around the world yearn for consistency, but Kohli is the one who defines it. The only blemish of his career are his performances in England, home or away. After the England tour in 2014, Kohli admitted he did not make enough amends in his approach and technique to score runs in toughest of situations. But being among the smartest of cricketers, Kohli learnt his lessons soon and the results were evident in Australia 2014-15. For touring batsmen, Kohli made scoring look easy Down Under in a manner only he can.

As far as limited-overs cricket is concerned, Kohli stands miles ahead of his contemporaries. In 2016 he has bettered himself every time he has walked out to bat. The innings against Pakistan in Asia Cup 2016 match on a tricky wicket, a fine half-century against the arch-rivals in T20 World Cup 2016 and the magnificent late surge in must-win game versus Australia helped Kohli stamp his authority, while the others frittered away burdened by their team’s misfiring departments.

What sets Kohli apart from his peers is also his approach. He would not go berserk with funky strokes even against the most toothless attacks on docile wickets, Kohli will keep churning out textbook strokes and show how simply it can be done. Sometime back, Kohli said in order to excel in T20 cricket one must know all the shots in the book. He practises what he preaches.

Kohli has redefined consistency, and to do that in a competition when not many remember what happened last night because by the time they wake up and their day begins, the next game is already upon them. Kohli’s run-making ability has no match, and all that he has achieved is because of conjuring extremely sacred work ethics, and most importantly, having the hunger to win the games.

Cricket history is replete with cricketers battling severe pain in their quest to success. There are many who have left IPL 9 midway due to niggles and they getting opportunity to take precautionary breaks, but Kohli is not one who will be halted by a split webbing. He would tape it to the extent he will not feel any pain while batting. But to score a T20 century in a 15-over match with several stitches in hand is simply not achievable. But Kohli knows no bounds; there is no stopping the man who is on full throttle in the race to become the best. He is the best.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)