Virat Kohli is the master of modern-day batting. Whether he’s expertly compiling a run-chase in an ODI or adding to his tally of Test hundreds, he’s as elegant as he is effective.
Every batsman wants to emulate Kohli; as adept at smashing a ton for RCB as he is at grinding one out in England, he’s in the ICC’s top 4 for every format. He has also just captained India to their first ever Test series victory in Australia.
To cap it all, the man has won our own overseas player of the year award for two consecutive years and is held in extremely high regard by our members. Clearly the feeling is mutual too, as he’s been very forthcoming in his support for the Barmy Army on many occasions.
In short, the man’s stock is pretty high at the moment.
It is, therefore, extremely significant that he recently weighed in on the Tests vs T20 debate. For Virat Kohli, Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport, and that can only be a good thing for fans of the longest format. Granted, he was quick to acknowledge the shorter formats’ importance, but he made it clear where his priorities lie.
To stay relevant, Test cricket needs players like the current India captain. Not only is he Sachin Tendulkar reincarnated for so many, he’s also one of those players that everyone wants to get out. The best players will want to play with and against him, while stars of the future will look to emulate their hero.
For so long, Test cricket was all there was. Bradman is rightly revered as one of the sport’s greatest, and yet he never donned coloured clothing or dropped to his knees to attempt a scoop shot. That’s what today’s great batsmen have the ability to do, though. That’s what they need to continue to do in T20 competitions to attract fans. All we can hope for is that fans continue to hear their heroes placing such importance on the game’s longest format. If the romance of the red-ball game is conveyed on after Friday night of range-hitting then what does it matter?
Kohli’s words are music to the ears of anyone who values Test cricket, and we would include ourselves in that. If the game is to continue to flourish for years to come, we’re going to need more statements like this one to reach the ears of as many as possible. For now, we can hope that the King of modern-day batting continues to voice his opinions, and that plenty continue to listen.