India finds a new hero in Virat Kohli

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Just when Indian cricket was pondering a future without its ageing batting superstars, Virat Kohli has emerged as the man ready to step in and take charge. With Rahul Dravid having retired and Sachin Tendulkar and Venkatsai Laxman nearing the end of their glorious careers, India are desperate to find replacements during a tough transition period. But the heroics of 23-year-old Kohli in Sunday’s clash with Pakistan helped lift the gloom — at least at the one-day level — after an embarrassing period in Test cricket when India were whitewashed 4-0 in England and Australia. Kohli is already being hailed as one of cricket’s finest young batsmen after he anchored India to an astonishing one-day victory on Sunday night, their second in three weeks. His 183 off 148 balls helped India achieve their highest chase in one-day cricket to overhaul Pakistan’s formidable 330-run target with 13 balls to spare in the Asia Cup game in Dhaka. The explosive knock followed the 86-ball unbeaten 133 against Sri Lanka in Hobart on February 28 that saw India chase down 321 in an incredible 36.4 overs to secure a bonus-point clinching win in the tri-series in Australia. Kohli has now scored 11 centuries in 85 one-dayers, including three in the last four games, his 3,590 runs coming at an impressive average of 50.56. Kohli’s eight Tests so far have produced one century and an average of 32.73 after he burst into the star-studded middle-order on the tour of the West Indies last year when Tendulkar opted to rest.