Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli [Reuters]

A lot of cricket fans across India consider him to be a legend in the making. He may not possess the calm demeanour of Rahul Dravid, but his batting skills and aggressive nature more than compensate.

Since rising through India's Under-19 team, Virat Kohli has cemented his place in the national squad - and experts and analysts are now placing him in the same league as that of the country's greatest-ever player, Sachin Tendulkar.

IBTimes UK takes a look at the player who many now believe is the best player in the world.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli in action against West Indies in November 2011. [Reuters] Reuters

A hard-hitter of the ball and a passionate cricketer, Kohli grew up in Delhi and embarked on his first steps to fame by guiding his India U-19 side to victory in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup at Malaysia in March 2008.

The achievement threw spotlight on the young lad, who was called upon to make his ODI debut just five months later. He was also handpicked by Royal Challengers Bangalore during the inaugural IPL season in 2008 and in the years that followed he has become the face of the two-time runners-up.

The right-hander, who prefers to bat at number three, has achieved a number of milestones and records in the last few years, particularly in one-day cricket. He currently shares the number one spot in the ICC player rankings with AB de Villiers of South Africa, with a rating of 872 in the abbreviated form of the game.

The South African wicketkeeper-batsman dethroned the Indian as the best player in the 50-over format in December last year. But Kohli returned to the coveted number one spot after his performances in the ongoing series against New Zealand.

The entire nation will fondly remember his knock of his personal best of 183 against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup in 2012. Kohli's heroics helped India produce their highest ever run chase of 330 in the 50-over format.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli scores 183 runs in 148 balls against Pakistan. [Reuters] Reuters

Despite his relatively slight frame, Kohli is more than capable of clearing the ropes and this natural power, combined with the velvet touch of his strokesplay, is a potent combination in the one-day game. Kohli currently holds the record for India's fastest-ever century, compiled in just 52 balls against Australia in October last year.

He is also the fastest player in the history of cricket to reach the 5000 run milestone in just 120 matches surpassing the great, Sir Vivian Richards who needed six matches more.

Kohli's accolades include the ICC ODI Player of the Year and the People's Choice Awards for Favourite Sportsperson of the Year in 2012, followed by the Arjuna Award last year for his outstanding achievements in sports at the national level.

In case you're not already convinced [or dizzy with statistics] he is also the quickest Indian cricketer to reach the milestone of 1000, 3000 and 4000 runs, the fastest player to reach 10 and 15 centuries in ODIs, and the first Indian batsman to score the most ODI runs in every calendar year since 2010.

And, of course, the team awards have flowed. Kohli played in 2011 World Cup final, sharing a crucial 81-run stand with Tendulkar to help his team to victory. And in 2013 he played a key role in India's Champions Trophy triumph, finishing fifth on the list of leading run scorers and top-scoring in the final with a wonderfully inventive 43 off 34 balls in soggy conditions.

In test cricket Kohli's progress has been more sedate, an average of 44.32 and a return of five centuries in just 22 matches hints at the potential for greatness. In an Indian line-up shorn of its trio of batting legends [Dravid, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman], Kohli is already showing the cussedness and composure to fill the breach.

His effortless 119 in the recent drawn test against South Africa, made against the world's best attack on a spicy wicket, demonstrated the kaleidoscopic range of his capabilities. With India losing wickets, Kohli knuckled down and waited for the bad balls, before opening up later in the innings to shepherd his team to a competitive total. Tendulkar would have been proud.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli celebrating India's win in World Cup 2011. [Reuters] Reuters

So we already know that Kohli is one of the best players in the world. That much has been proved beyond doubt. The question now facing us is: is he currently the best?

Given the rate at which Kohli has been learning from his compatriots and evolving, putting in resolute shifts on the field, active and vocal in making decisions and imparting instructions, one cannot deny that he has matured and continues to blossom into a batting bedrock.

Is there anyone better in world cricket? The recent Ashes series showed that neither England nor Australia posseses much in the way of world-class batting talent, apart from Michael Clarke - and even his talent is often shackled by a dicky back. Hashim Amla, a perennial contender for the title of world's no.1 batsman, had a rotten time during the recent South Africa-India series, while the ageless Sri Lankans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have played little test cricket of late.

Perhaps we will get a better idea of Kohli's standing when India visit England this summer. In alien conditions against a team which will be desperate to bounce back from its Ashes humiliation (and no doubt infused with a new battery of hungry fast bowlers) Kohli will have the perfect chance to prove his credentials. Wickets usually tumble early on in England, so Kohli will be expected to play long, match-defining, even career-defining innings.

Tendulkar took the first step on his journey to greatness by scoring his first test hundred in England, nearly a quarter of a century ago. If Kohli flourishes in the same conditions, he could complete his own journey to the top of the world.