DO NOT make it out as Virat Kohli versus Shubman Gill, that would be perverse

Two centuries, two different generations, and the unnecessary push for the comparison.


DO NOT make it out as Virat Kohli versus Shubman Gill, that would be perverse

L- Virat Kohli, R- Shubman Gill (Image Credits: iplt20.com)

Now that dust, grime and finally showers have cleansed and rinsed the league phase of the Indian Premier League 2023 edition, the wheat has been separated from the chaff. To be sure, the last two matches in the IPL 2023 on Sunday evening/night were a head-bangers ball. There was intrigue, there was suspense and for the two winners — Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans — to come out firing was proof of holding nerves on the big stage.

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T20 fans not have thirsted for more this summer, almost to the point of a junkie craving for a quick fix. Boy oh boy, what stuff IPL fans were treated to from the men who use their bats like AK rifles, which are for violence! This was assault minus the violence, not what one witnesses in the United States of America where pulling the trigger has become so rampant. Minus gun laws in the USA, every other day, so many innocents are killed.

Out there in the IPL, it is pretty much like the old Wild West books later adapted into movies that have great characters. Hollywood fans saw someone like Clint Eastwood in the most absorbing roles as the hero with his rugged looks and trigger-pulling acts, where cowboy hats would be blown off as well as bad characters.

Watching two men bat like Wild West characters in the IPL, you could be sure that duo from different generations, Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill, have thundered, just like the rains at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday night. Before stat-hooked fans jump, yes, Faf du Plessis topped the charts with a rocking run aggregate of 730 runs in 14 league matches for RCB.

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Viewed dispassionately and from the point of view of how “local flavor” in the IPL was spiced up, two blokes who went for broke were Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill. Quite often, stats are used to define class and greatness. That is, perhaps, the most inappropriate dipstick test. Joy in cricket cannot be measured by stats alone, be it runs scored, sixes, fours, and strike rate. There is importance to how these runs were scored and whether it was of any use.

This was the difference between the two batters who have shown great character, playing with application of the highest order and not stepping off the pedal. The Millenials love Gill, from cricket fans to Sara Tendulkar. Kohli is a bit like that Wild West character, minus that cigar-chewing and spit. Watching these men, VK and Gill, on Sunday night was a treat, a treatise of sorts of how to bat in the T20 format.

Virat Kohli shattered Gayles glorious IPL record with second successive century
Virat Kohli shattered Gayle’s glorious IPL record with a second-successive century (Image Credits: iplt20.com)

Anyone who says the IPL sees predictable results has to be a pessimist or sick in the head. Yes, cricket has seen some results being “fixed” in the past, but for sheer entertainment value and adrenaline-felted stuff being belted out, Sunday night in Bengaluru was roaring. Hearts and hormones were raging. After all, one cannot discount the number of girls who watch the IPL. And for all those who think that Kohli is a married man with a child, he still does have a massive fan base.

Maybe, he does not cause a flutter in the hearts of conservative young girls, if there are any still out there. For sheer bravado and flexing muscles, Kohli’s back-to-back hundreds in the IPL have settled a few debates. This man is more hungry than a voracious lion who has not got his prey for a long time. The 2022/2023 version of Kohli is so robust, he can serve Indian cricket for much more time.

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Kohli has been selfless, led when the team (RCB) needed him as well. Yet, to conjure up twin tons in the IPL was a reflection of his state of mind. Nirvana? Yes. Calm? Yes, provided you are willing to forget that incident between him and sulk Gautam Gambhir.

Kohli is GOAT on Twitter, if you follow social media. This man plays from the heart, and what is more and more engrossing is his application. He starts preparing for the match well in advance. If the rain has stopped, he will come out, warm up and be ready. To be in that zone — state of preparedness — like a fighter pilot having to scramble in a few seconds’ notice is not easy.

Related: WATCH: David Warner teases Ravindra Jadeja during DC vs CSK, imitates all-rounder’s famous sword celebration

Nothing can top Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill’s tango for Team India

If only Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill can tango for Team India
(Image Credits: iplt20.com)

These two tons from Kohli will silence many critics. His value is the gold standard in relation to Indian cricket. And for all those TV analysts who think he is slowing down, that’s bunkum. Perhaps, he and Shubman Gill can form that vital opening combo for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2024. For the record, Kohli scored 639 runs in the 14 league matches in the IPL 2023. Yes, he played every single match in the IPL league phase, which speaks volumes about his fitness.

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To be sure, comparing Gill and Kohli is the most ridiculous thing. Cricket fans have for long made crazy comparisons from Don Bradman to Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara to Sachin. It has been perverse to read all comparisons that Viv Richards would have done better than Chris Gayle if he was in this generation of IPL. These are all fancy theories. To compare players competing at the same time is fine. You can talk of how Gill is shaping up and what he can deliver in the future for Indian cricket. That will be the gold standard.

Gill has embraced T20 format very well, no doubting that. Yet, to be spoken of in the same tone as Kohli is wrong. Gill scored 680 runs, inclusive of two centuries in IPL 2023. There is a massive age difference between the two — Kohli and Gill. If the two can tango for Team India, that will be brilliant. After all, Rohit Sharma‘s days are numbered, it is impossible seeing him continue in 2024. He took breaks even in the IPL!

Gill was raw, maybe tempered, now. He sets your pulse racing, has that swagger of an Arabian Sheikh loaded with green bags. Yet, the litmus test for Gill will be to sustain this form for a long time. We saw how SKY — Suryakumar Yadav faced pressure in the IPL before finding his feet. Gill should not be hyped far too much.

Fans will go on an overdrive, social media will launch you like a kite in orbit and then cut the string when there is a dip in performance. Kohli also faced the loss of form till the Asia Cup last year. As long as cricket fans can respect batters like Kohli and Gill as humans and not machines, it will be good. It’s nice to praise performers. What is not nice is to “assassinate” them, when there is a dip in form!

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