Sitting in the TV commentary room at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in Antigua was a batting great whose legend took roots on these shores. Way back in 1971,Sunil Gavaskar made his fabled debut in the West Indies and scored a mammoth 774 runs in four Tests. He went on to become one of the greatest-ever opening batsmen in the game.On Friday, Gavaskar was a proud man as he rose to hail a great cricketing feat in the Caribbean land by another great Indian player after Virat Kohli+ scored his maiden double century. Coincidentally, Kohli also made his Test debut in the Caribbean, in 2012 in Jamaica as a 23-year old.It was a modest outing for the young man, with only 19 runs accruing from the two innings. In fact, the highest that Kohli could get in that series was 30. However, as Kohli himself revealed a day before the start of the ongoing Antigua Test, he did learn a lot about his batting and international cricket on that tour and it helped him improve as a playerHow much Kohli has improved. What an irrepressible force he has been on show in the come, as has been on show in the first Test. Kohli played a masterful knock of 200 (283 balls, 24 fours) and by the time he was dismissed, he had made sure India had the upper hand in the Test.There probably is no other cricketer in the world who backs himself as much as Virat Kohli does, and with so much success. He had backed his five batsmen to deliver against West Indies so that he could launch a full-on attack on the opponents with five specialist bowlers. Even as he watched three top-order batsmen gifting their wickets away to Devendra Bishoo on Day One, he, yet again, took it upon himself to make sure India have enough runs on the board to let the bowlers try and get those 20 wickets to win the Test.Everyone saw how he rewrote the paradigm of T20 batting this year with his exceptional feats in T20 Internationals and the IPL. He has also been the world’s premier one-day batsman for some years now. He is revving it up in Test cricket now, with his typical panache.It was a Test match special from a player who is now being termed a ‘phenomenon.’ Another phenomenal player from the past, Vivian Richards, who was also present at the ground, would have approved and admired the way Kohli constructed the innings.But for two or three edges, he did not put a foot wrong in his long innings. His concentration was unwavering, his judgment of line and length was unerring and his shot making was clean and controlled, something you always expect of him. Not for once did Kohli try to hit the ball in the air, such was the self-controlBesides, his exceptional fitness let him run those ones and twos with ease all through the knock, helping the scoreboard move along briskly .West Indies had no answer to his craft, his intent and his attitude.The track here in Antigua has been a batsmen’s delight and the West Indian attack has been as friendly as one can hope to get at international level. But, here lies the catch. Often, players who have Kohli’s immense attacking ability simply get bored and gift their wicket away. The India captain guarded against that pitfall.Just three captains have managed double hundreds in a Test match vs West Indies in the Carribean. Apart from Kohli, the first two were England’s Len Hutton (205 at Kingston in 1953-54) and Australia’s Bobby Simpson (201 at Bridgetown in 1964-65).
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