Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kohli vs Chandimal vs Akmal

For cricket-lovers there is a delight to watch young and exciting talent dazzle in front of the world, heartwarming to experience such young prodigy translate their skills into performances. And so have these three young players from Asia – Umar Akmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Virat Kohli. But there is a crucial difference between these three that sets them apart, not only from other young players but from each other as well.

The other difference is the number of matches these three have played, with Kohli transforming himself into a vital cog in the wheel of that star-studded Indian middle-order while being an year older than Chandimal and nearly two-years more than Akmal. But these three little dynamites fall in the same age bracket, hence they are gauged and compared the same way as Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar were. And whats more common among these three is that they are brashly confident and immensely fit, added to it their spectacular fielding, and here we get a unbeatable combination of power, energy and skill.

Starting from Virat Kohli, who broke into the ODI set up of Indian team as a replacement for an injured Virender Sehwag in a five match series against Sri Lanka and took the challenge to open the innings when he was primarily regarded as a middle-order batsman. He didn't set the stage alight but some gritty contributions at the top of the order ensured that India won the series after a shameful drubbing in the Test series, played earlier. However, as the maxim goes “he never looked back from there onwards” holds very much true with Kohli, who went about proving his mettle on every opportunity that was thrown at him. Even figures speak for his talent and ability, as he holds an unbelievable record of scoring ten of his eleven centuries in a winning cause and more importantly, out of those ten, seven have come when India was chasing. The ability to soak up the pressure and attack at the same time, there are no better examples than his last two hundreds against Sri Lanka in Australia and against arch-rivals Pakistan. Frankly, he not only made look bowlers like Malinga and Gul pedestrians but it looked as if the fielding side was chasing the game, instead of him. Kohli came into the side with a resumé of winning the U-19 World Cup as a captain, though a bit irresponsible, loose and often foul-mouthed but then he himself turned things around for himself. The swearing that spells out from his mouth is often directed towards the dressing room, suggesting that he has many distractors within. It doesn't matter what the situation is, against which team and under which captain he plays, Kohli has made his bat do the talking and doesn't shy from letting his mouth do it as well.

Make this a usual as this man looks unstoppable on current form

Similarly, Sri Lankan has recently been blessed with fresh legs in the form of Angelo Mathews or Thissara Perera but the one that would presumably hog much more light in the coming future is Dinesh Chandimal. Chandimal is one of them who believe aggression is the first form of caution. He is certainly a flamboyant middle-order batsman who showed his spunk by scoring two hundreds against top sides in the first six innings of his ODI career. He may have a drought in terms of centuries and had a difficult time against Australia and Pakistan in 2011, but his performance in 2012 on the South African tour and in the Tri-Series Down Under just proved once again what a gem of a player Sri Lanka have found for the future. The best thing that Chandimal seems to have is, he has all the shots in the book and keeps the scoreboard ticking at a nice rate and when required, he can up the ante with his aggressive game-play. Chandimal is a bit more greener than Kohli and Akmal, but he has shown maturity beyond his age and experience. Apart from his credentials as a batsman, he is regarded as a safe keeper, if not in the league of Ian Healy. The ascent for the young man may just have begun and in an international event like the IPL while playing for Royal Rajasthan, it presents him with all the opportunity in the world to hone his skills and win the respect of his peers.

An exceptional ability to play aggressive and defensive as the situation demands

The Pakistan side was considered extremely lucky when the world got to know a shining star has emerged from there, rather faulty, system in the form of Umar Akmal. On the basis of sheer talent, Umar Akmal may leap far ahead in the list of young players in the cricketing world and in this context; he is the youngest among the three as well. But he may also be the most questionable personality of the three. He shot to fame from his sparkling unbeaten hundred as a 19-year old teen at a strike-rate over 140 against the likes of Mendis and Malinga while batting at number six. The defining moment of that inning, and probably that stamped a seal on this outrageous talent, was his six or two that he bludgeoned over the head of Malinga on his way to an electrifying hundred. However, things have taken a bit of downturn for him where he even faced disciplinary hearings, questions being asked over his attitude towards the game especially when he fabricated a back pain because his older brother – Kamran - was dropped from the side. It’s a curious combination with Umar Akmal, much like Pakistan team, where there is senselessness and recklessness coupled with so much of raw talent that it got the respect of cricketers in Australia who, frankly, respect very few in the game. Umar has this gift of taking any attack of any kind to the cleaners, but either he doesn't himself know what astonishing capabilities he has or he hasn't been use the way he is meant to be. And probably the latter may hold true as Pakistan has lately been found to be too defensive in their approach which has not let Umar bat higher up the order. That is said to be one reason why he hasn't been able to grow as a player, while Chandimal has played crucial innings batting at number 4 while Virat has made No. 3 his own. There are fewer opportunities for him batting at 5 or 6, hence less growth for him. At the end of the day, no matter how talented you are but if that talent isn't used as it is meant to be then you are better off using that talent chopping vegetables at home.

With a talent like him, you don't want to get to a "make or break" point in your career
Cricket has never had a dry period and even today, with the game evolving from one to two and now three formats and new teams breaking into the setup, the players have evolved too. And players like these three are a fine example of how much cricket has changed where the exuberance of their youth is on the show and their fearless approach makes a great viewing for cricket-lovers. They don't respect any bowler as they eye them as their adversary and if you bowl trash at them, you'll be treated like a trash-man. They have time and talent to boast about, what matters is which one of them has the temperament to last the longest. However, we hope they keep their temperament while we enjoy watching them making a mincemeat of their oppositions.


  1. No doubt these three are immensely talented but I think Kohli and Akmal are really fine cricketers and they are proven themselves on the field and really have played some match winning innings for their sides.

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