Virat Kohli has gone from the guy flipping others the bird to a reliable cog in India's ever-growing wheel of batting power. In October, thanks to some helpful conditions, he's scored 344 runs at an average of 172. That included two fifties and two hundreds.
It has taken him just 112 innings to get to 17 hundreds in one-day cricket—faster tan Sourav Ganguly, who got there in 170 innings.
Kohli does thrive in subcontinental conditions—he has scored seven of his tons in India, four in Bangladesh and two in Sri Lanka, but that should not diminish his achievements too much. He's already passed 1,000 runs overall this year, which is the third time on the trot he has done so.
He has scored two fifties in every single country except for Sri Lanka, and the only country where he is yet to score an ODI hundred is South Africa. He averages 57.60 in the country, though, with three fifties under his belt. With India's tour there just around the corner and the form he currently finds himself in, he'll most likely rectify that anomaly before the end of the year.
His ability to engineer an innings, especially when India are chasing, is vital. His unbeaten hundred against Australia in the sixth ODI was his 11th in a chase, proving he can stay calm and cool under pressure in almost any situation.
Kohli is also the first batsman to bring up scores of 50 or more on five successive games on two occasions. He has become Mr. Reliable in the middle order and one of the most entertaining and explosive batsmen to watch.
Sunil Gavaskar has suggested that he will more than likely surpass Sachin Tendulkar's record of 49. Tendulkar had just eight centuries after the same number of games as Kohli, and Gavaskar has heaped praise on the fiery batsman as a result.
Gavaskar told NDTV, via Cricinfo:
That is what human progress is all about. Records are meant to be broken. While we know that some of Tendulkar's records are well nigh impossible to be able to get like 200 Test matches, nor anybody can reach 51 Test hundreds. But the manner in which Virat is batting, the record for 49 hundreds looks possible," he said. Now Virat needs 32 more hundreds to go and the number of ODIs India play he can do it. This cricketing season itself, Virat can get to 20 or 22 hundreds.
Cricket, in some cases, certainly is becoming more and more of a batsman's game, and the flat tracks have helped players in India-Australia ODI series to score a wealth of runs, but Kohli's worth shouldn't be discounted.
He is only 24 years old and, if he is managed properly and chooses to, still has at least 10 years ahead of him in his career. Of course players do dip in and out of form as they progress, but if his last three years are anything to go by, Kohli's star is burning brighter than ever.
Here are more detailed Kohli statistics via Cricinfo.
George Bailey, although tremendously helped by conditions, had quite a sensational October. In five games, he scored 474 runs at an average of 118.50. He misses out on the award mostly because of the quality of bowling from India.
Graeme Smith passed 9,000 runs in Test cricket, hitting a comeback double hundred against Pakistan earlier in the month. Smith proves time and time again that he is one of the best players to ever play for South Africa. His technique might not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but he's pretty effective.