Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com looks at the enigma that is Virat Kohli
With five straight wins Team India is certain to top Pool B in the ongoing World Cup Down Under.
The business end of the tournament is approaching and it is time to look at the player who has to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility if the defending champions are to retain their title.
Yes, Shikhar Dhawan is doing pretty well now. So are the bowlers.
But the same can't be trusted per se. Dhawan, despite his recent good form, is inconsistent at best, as his failures against the UAE and the West Indies indicate.
The likes of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina have either performed intermittently well or not got enough opportunities, while captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja are yet to deliver with the bat.
Truth be told, the bowlers have not suffered so far because they haven't been tested. Either the batsmen have put the runs on board - against the bigger teams like Pakistan and South Africa, or they had little trouble against the minnows that Team India has subsequently faced (yeah, including West Indies).
There's only one Indian player who was consistent throughout.
Virat Kohli started the tournament with a magnificent 107 against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval. The 26-year-old has since contributed significantly in each subsequent innings, scores of 46, 33 not out, 33 and 44 not out indicating the same.
However, while he is a dependable batsman, he isn't as reliable as regards his conduct.
The hot-headed player has been involved in untoward episodes on and off the field.
Suffice to say that so far in his career Kohli is in the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde mould.
While everyone looks up to him as a batsman, the same cringe with his shenanigans otherwise. The much-documented recent episode, involving him abusing the correspondent of a national daily, is the latest in a series of episodes that once again shows the youngster in poor light.
The team management had to initially run for cover before eventually opting the typical Indian way of brushing things under the carpet.
The behaviour the Delhi player has displayed in very unbecoming, especially considering the fact that he is captain-designate. No team in the world would want its captain to be embroiled in one controversy after the other.
However, while on the one hand Kohli guarantees performance, on the other, he also refuses to mend his ways.
His form and consistency might help India go all the way. At the same time his antics can affect the morale of the whole dressing room, and, consequently, the team's performance in the knock-out stages. Besides, there seems to be no one who can help the player curb his arrogance.
It is easy to say that he has to mend his ways and focus solely on helping Team India retain the trophy.
It is even easier to say that won't happen, for the future captain is kinda incorrigible.
Therein lies the irony.
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