On Simplicity and Virat Kohli

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication~ Leonardo Da Vinci

Our lives are enigmatic these days. In fact, we insist on making it complicated. We are so obsessed with complexities that we like to adopt mannerisms and habits that are modern, different and unique. While creativity and improvisation may work for some people (the outliers), it is the adoption of simplicity that requires a great deal of self-restraint and produces more consistent results for the commoners.

The linear and positive relationship between effectiveness and simplicity

Virat Kohli, the mainstay of the Indian batting order, who has been in the form of his life, is the best example of how simplicity can lead to unmatched success. While a lot of cricketers talk about their focus on keeping things simple on the field, very few of them are actually able to walk the talk. Kohli on the other hand is an epitome of deliverance who has practised and implemented the principles of simplicity every time he has come out to bat.

The master of keeping things simple

For him, the path to simplicity starts with self-awareness. He knows himself inside out. Although he is quite animated with his emotions, deep inside there is a sense of clarity, which is a result of his straightforward approach. He his conscious of his weaknesses (though, I doubt there are any) and he respects his limitations. People who follow the game closely will easily point out that some time back Kohli was not very adept at hitting sixes at will. He acknowledged the fact himself in various after match presentations and interviews. But, in order to counter the problem, he didn’t resort to the modern-day (improvised) shots like the scoop or the helicopter.

An ardent believer in the conventional way of playing cricket, he has managed to become one of the best players of the current times by relying on tried and tested techniques. Blocking and leaving the good balls, playing that elegant flick when it’s on his pads and seamlessly going through the drives when pitched in his zone.

What sets him apart from most of the players out there is his fitness and his game is based entirely on it. It is his defence mechanism that helps him cope with the lack of a particular set of skills. His training is unorthodox and he prepares for the worst. Remember him posting a picture with an altitude mask on Instagram? Well, that was to increase his breathing capacity so that even when he is hundred not out, he can still run with the same fervour as a new batsman just coming onto the field, without getting tired.

A typical Virat Kohli innings is characterised by a lot of running between the wickets and some exquisite shots which pierce the gaps with relative ease. What is commendable is that he is able to maintain a healthy strike rate in the excess of 150 without trying anything fancy.

There is a simple rule in cricket, hit a boundary and rotate the strike on the following ball. Next time when you watch Kohli bat, notice how religiously he follows this unstated dictum while building his innings. In the era of slam-bang cricket, where switch-hits and reverse-sweeps are believed to be indispensable weapons that every batsman must possess in his artillery, Virat Kohli is redefining consistency by playing a risk-free game laced with proper cricketing shots.

While Virat Kohli’s case strengthens the claim that there is a lot of power in the simple way of doing things, embracing simplicity is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a single-minded focus and an immense amount of self-control, for the other approaches are always more alluring. But, when mastered, the art of keeping things simple is the most sophisticated tool to possess.


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