Virat-Kohli,-you-beauty!

Do you remember the first time when you felt a sinking feeling in your stomach when love-bug had struck? Do you remember your first kiss? Do you remember your maiden sip of alcohol? Do you remember when you coughed violently after taking your first drag due to incessant goading from friends? Chances are all of these are fresh in your memory, as if these events unfolded just yesterday.

Chances are also that Virat Kohli will never forget Colombo 2015. With the passage of time, the details may get hazy in his memory, thanks in no small part to his knack of always looking forward without being a prisoner of history. But till he retains his sanity.

The sheer elation he must have felt when Amit Mishra trapped Dushmantha Chameera in front of the stumps with yet another wrong ’un will not go away. In all probability, a 70-year old Kohli will be requested to recollect this event by a future TV show maker. After having finished stints of forthright commentary and controversial yet successful stints of coaching, his eyes will light up with childlike glee at this request; the rest of this interview will feel like a walk on the clouds for him. India vs Sri Lanka, 2015: Finally, India finish a Test!

Ask any professional in any field, and they will tell you that one of the top three most difficult tasks will surely be leading a group of other professionals. The challenge inherent in this task is exemplified by the fact that popular management magazines churn out volume after volume dedicated to demystifying it. Yet, not one of the pop management writers involved will be able to put hands on hearts and claim they are any closer to the solution than they were when they first started thinking about it. And yet, there are folks who make this look as easy as going out in the park for a stroll in the simplistic manner we all cling to so desperately. We refer to these guys as natural leaders. Rahul Dravid’s fans heartbroken with Ajinkya Rahane’s success in Test cricket!

Kohli has appeared to be a natural for quite some time now, even before his elevation to the position of vice-captain. While hindsight-oriented analysts of the sport were going on about his batting exploits and potential, the foresighted ones stuck their necks out and predicted that the brash boy from Delhi could end up faring better than his childhood hero, Sachin Tendulkar, in at least one aspect of the game – captaincy. While these analysts are yet to be proven either right or wrong, the signs do seem to point in the general direction of vindication for them. Virat Kohli’s first win as Test captain vindicates ‘aggressive’ approach

There is no doubting that he has waited long and hard for this. When he was asked to fill in the large boots vacated by his predecessor in the middle of what is probably the toughest Test series in the world for an Indian team, it could not have been that he was taken by surprise. The metaphorical inscription of Future India Captain had long adorned the doors of hotel rooms and residences occupied by him (along with his film actor ladylove on certain occasions) across cricket nations of the world. Ajinkya Rahane: The quintessential team man

Yet the challenge was made tougher by the fact that his predecessor had been criticised (unfairly, at times) by one and all for overtly defensive captaincy. In his laconic yet sarcastic press conferences and interviews he had pointed directly or indirectly at the quality of resources at his disposal and how they dictated his captaincy style. Kumar Sangakkara: The master and his legacy

One could not argue too much against this line of thought; and yet, Kohli was expected to turn the tide by just sliding in to the thorn infused throne of captaincy. Kohli, of foul-mouthed uninhibitedness and strong bottom-hand-based strokeplay, was thought of as a panacea to all of India’s woes. Angelo Mathews: Sri Lanka’s lone ranger

The current Prime Minister of the nation comes to mind immediately as a comparison — and thereby, as an answer as well. Success of the “cherishable” variety just doesn’t come easy; else, it would not have belonged to that variety in the first place. As Kohli hops into the bar with a group of teammates while Ravi ‘Loudspeaker’ Shastri bellows into everyone’s ears above the din of club music about aggressive cricket and what not, he would do well to take a moment for himself and ponder over the real ramifications of this statement.

The current generation boasts of Joe Root, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson and the boy-man from the by-lanes of Saddi Dilli. Together, they will soon represent the quintuplet form of the Holy Trinity of yesteryear — Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, and Ricky Ponting.

This means words like potential, genius and talent etc will forever be a sentence or two away from them. The world is slowly but surely adopting the Australian way of captain selection — the best among the selected XI or XV — which means that England’s baby-faced assassin and Kiwis’ serenity incarnate will not be far away from the baton being passed to them.

While the rest of the quartet have done well for themselves in this season, Kohli has been scratchy at best barring an innings here and another there after the excellent showing Down Under. Whether one accepts this or not, the writing on the wall tells one in no uncertain terms about the debilitating impact captaincy can have on a batsman. In this regard, Kohli has a long, treacherous road ahead of him. But for once, he can be excused to sit back and get intoxicated by the elixir of victory.

Two other aspects need to be looked at today — the fact that this is an away victory and that it has come right after a heartbreak in the previous Test. Indian Test victories away from home are as rare as Tinder matches that end up in marriages. Journalists seem to have made entire careers on the basis of lurid details and juicy anecdotes. Quality pictures from all of them would only be enough to fill coffee-table books.

In the spirit of brevity, it would suffice to say that true to his wont, Kohli has achieved his first Test victory as captain in a most special manner. The Indian fan now wishes that many more coffee tables are adorned by pictures as beautiful as the ones that would have been clicked at the P Sara today. The fan would want the win : loss : draw ratio in away matches to be many times better than the hookup : unmatch : friend ratio for him on Tinder but in this case, he would want the Tinder ratio to improve too.

The mood in the dressing-room after the last Test must have made batsmen who played silly shots want to get lost inside the surface of the Earth. The bowlers who let Dinesh Chandimal and co. get away must have felt an urgent need to go on a long-term space mission to Pluto or somewhere as remote.

It is difficult to imagine Kohli not venting it all out on the team, though years of watching greats like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, and Anil Kumble struggle with ups and downs must have made him know that fire and ice is the way to go. Even the most experienced leaders of men find it tough to turn such situations around especially when they find it difficult to get out of the blocks. But India and Ashes participants many miles away have co-conspired to make fools of suit-and-tie-clad men who can’t stop gushing about the power of momentum.

In a Test that could have been remembered only as the farewell match for one of Sri Lanka’s favourite cricketing sons, Kohli has left an indelible mark. However, while doing so, his large-hearted gestures towards Sangakkara along with everything else should be enough to convince the naysayers as well as Rubel Hossain that India’s boy wonder has finally come of age.

(Abhishek Chopra idolizes Rahul Sharad Dravid. Till a couple of years back, he used to daydream about getting selected for India as a leg-spinner or an opener or a wicketkeeper. Then reality struck. He can be contacted at facebook.com/chopra.abhishek)