HOW HUNGRY IS KOHLI?

One fine evening on 26th January 2018 when South Africa’s Dean Elgar and Hashim Alma were batting on 124/1 in pursuit of chasing India’s target of 241 in third and the final test, everyone was confident enough that South Africa would take the series 3-0. At the end of 50th over, everyone on the ground heard a voice shouting “Come on guys..!!!. We can win this…!” At the end of the day, India won the test by 63 runs and took down South Africa in their own background. The guy who showed that the toughest targets can still be achieved if you believe you can is The Indian Captain- Virat Kohli. The question is not will Kohli achieve greater heights in his career but how hungry is he to achieve it. Everyone remembers Kohli’s innings of 133 vs. Sri Lanka in Hobart when people thought that it is far from possible to chase a target of 321 under 40 overs, Kohli walked into the crease with such hunger to win and determination that he helped India chase the target within 37 overs. When he walks into the ground, I don’t know if Kohli sees the pitch or the players or the audience, but I see a hungry lion ready to hunt its prey. The way Kohli anchors his innings while chasing is no less than a lion hunting down its prey. I have never seen a lion chasing its prey in living, but I don’t regret it as I had the privilege to see Kohli chasing down the target.

Virat Kohli is a Superman when it comes to chasing the target, he is Flash when it comes to fielding in the ground, he is the Dark Knight (Batman) when it comes to leading the team to victory and finally, he is the Aquaman when it comes to running between the wickets. He is an Indian version of Justice League you can get. Every time he celebrates after scoring a century, I look into his eyes and I see the hunger for another century. The greatest quality Kohli possess is he hates to lose. He always wants to win. Let it be an IPL match or a Ranji match or even a friendly football match, he wants to win. Like Sachin Tendulkar once said, “Even if it’s my brother on the opposite side, I want to win”.

After playing over 25 years of cricket in his life, Virat Kohli is still hungry to achieve more and as every day passes by his hunger is growing at an unimaginable rate. People consider Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson as modern-day greats, but the hunger for success that Virat Kohli has is on another level when compared to the other three. Sometimes people misinterpret hunger for success as arrogance. There is a hairline difference between the two and Virat Kohli has always been on the hungry side and not the negative one.

An old man once said, “Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do”. He has taken over the captaincy from MS Dhoni three years back and since then he is leading the team to the best of his abilities and Indian cricket team has done really good at home and now they are going to face the biggest challenge overseas. People expect Kohli to lead the team to success even overseas. He may succeed in doing so or he may not, but whatever happens, people will look up to him as an example and he is going to prove again and again that no matter how many difficulties you face, but if you have that hunger to win, you will always win.

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THE RISE AND RISE OF RISHABH PANT

Heroes are not born; they are made out of sweat and blood. They don’t let external circumstances take control of their destiny. Sometimes their desire to succeed is so strong that it eats a part of them, but still, they carry on. According to a Japanese saying “The only strategy to end a hero is to burn him down, yet as a Phoenix, he rises from the ashes again”. It was the beginning of the IPL season –April 2017, a 19-year-old kid was practicing in nets and he got a call from his home that his father has demised due to heart attack an hour before. He left the stadium and he went straight to place to complete the rituals. That night he had two choices, he can cry his father’s death for the next two days or he can pack everything and play against Bangalore in Chinna Swamy Stadium. Rob Siltanen said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” He was crazy enough not to run away from the obstacles but to run towards them. He believed that true strength is keeping everything together when everyone expects you to fall apart. He knew that what broke him down, will eventually build him up. On April 8, 2017, Chinna Swamy witnessed a wonder. He came out to bat in the second innings and score 57 of 36 balls with four monstrous sixes.

Rishabh Pant of the Delhi Daredevils late cuts a delivery to the boundary during match 42 of the Vivo 2017 Indian Premier League

He is neither second Sachin Tendulkar nor second Virat Kohli, he is first Rishabh Pant. That day Delhi lost to Banglore and when Kedar Jadhav was given the Man of the Match, Ravindra Jadeja tweeted “Kedar Jadav won the Man of the Match, but Rishabh Pant has won 1.2 Billion hearts”. One month after when Delhi faced Gujarat, they were set a target of 210 in twenty overs and he played on the best innings in T20 cricket with 97 of 50 balls and sealed a victory. Ashley L. once said, “The brave may not live forever, but the timid don’t live at all”. It takes a lot of will and a lot more courage to be so strong after such a tragic incident at the age of 19. When everything you do turns against you and situations go out of control, that’s when a hero emerges. The toughest of the situation brings out the best of the ability. If Rishabh Pant had decided not to take part in the match against Banglore, Delhi would have opted for another player, but it is because Pant has decided to play, Delhi has opted Pant to be retained in 2018 IPL.

Harvey Mackay said “If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” Pant has kept his consistency in the next season of IPL. He is the second highest run scorer at the end of Play-offs in IPL 2018. The innings he had played against Sunrisers in IPL 2018 is one of the best in the recent times. The beauty of the innings was the way he took the attack to the opposition who has the best bowling lineup in the tournament. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan, who is considered as one of the best bowlers in T20 cricket in recent times, were completely dismantled by Pant. It was a supreme Man-slaughter of the best bowling attack by a 20-year-old. All his intimates were back in the pavilion, another failure from the batting department was visible from the horizon and an all-out was inevitable, BUT for a guy who has faced enormous devastation at a young age, this state of affair was just a piece of cake. SRH may have won the match, but in the books of history, that match will be remembered for Rishabh Pant. People were very worried about Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s legacy. They were concerned whether India will produce again an explosive batsman and an extraordinary keeper like Dhoni. Maybe God has answered our prayers and now Rishabh Pant is emerging like a seedling, crushing his was from the hard soil and declaring himself to the world above.

One of the finest examples of an athlete who redefined fate was “Glenn Cunningham”. Also known as the “The Kansas Flyer”, Gleen’s legs were badly burned in an explosion. Doctors decided to amputate his legs but he was so distressed that his parents would not allow it. Doctors and parents thought that he will not walk again in his life. His legs were completely burnt and all of his flesh on the skin is destroyed. But his determination to walk was stronger than those burns. After 22 months of struggling he barely started to walk. After years of grapple with pain Gleen, not only walked but also started to run and he ran so fast that he has set a record for the fastest runner on this earth to complete one mile in 4 minutes. When asked about his success he said every time he wanted to give up he remembered his favorite Bible verse “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. His fate has destroyed him at an early age, but his will to run has kept him moving forward.

Rishabh Pant and Glenn Cunningham were destroyed by fate but they defined themselves with courage. Maya Angelou, the most celebrated American poet of all time, quoted

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise”