On 20th April 2008, the world was introduced to a new concept of cricket which in last one decade has turned into a phenomenon. In the very first match of Indian Premier League, Brendon McCullum single-handedly dismantled the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling attack scoring 158 runs from just 73 balls. In response, RCB was bundled out for a substandard score of 82. Batting at number 3 for the losing side that had some legends like Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis was a 19-year-old boy from Delhi was picked as a catchment player. Nine years later, the same boy led RCB to the final of IPL.
Watch Virat Kohli’s knock against KKR:
While in his first season, Virat Kohli scored only 165 runs from 13 matches at an average of 15, in his last he smashed all the batting records by accumulating 973 runs in 16 games at an unbelievable batting average of 81.08. Kohli was picked by the Royal Challengers Bangalore as a catchment player which means he never went into an auction and was never bought by a franchise either. Often people raise this question whether IPL has achieved its real purpose of promoting the young talent? And, to find the answer you have to look no where else but at Virat Kohli’s journey from a 19-year-old who was yet to make his international debut to the captain of the Indian cricket team across all formats.
He has grown immensely as a player and it has to a lot with sharing the dressing room with legends like Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Daniel Vettori and Anil Kumble. You can see a pattern in Kohli’s performance. In his first three seasons in the IPL, he averaged 15, 22.36 and 27.90 respectively while in last two seasons he has averaged 45.90 and 81.08 respectively. He scored only two half-centuries in the first three seasons but went on to score 4 hundreds and 7 fifties last year itself. Kohli has not only matured over the years but has also become far more consistent.
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The approach is visible when the Indian captain takes field in blue colours as well. He is aggressive, the belief to win has always been there but IPL has made him and other cricketers of this generation ready for difficult situations. It would be unfair to say that IPl is the only reason why he is one of the best players in international cricket but it is certainly one of the major reasons. A league like this should not be judged on the basis of people that watch it or the money it gets you but on the basis of its contribution to a nation’s cricketing scene and IPL has emerged with flying colours in that aspect.