Virat Kohli, the wizard of Indian cricket
New Delhi, November 6, 2023 (BASS/AFP): Indian cricket icon Virat Kohli reached his 49th ODI century with a century against South Africa on Sunday. Through this he touched the record of highest century of another Indian great Sachin Tendulkar. But Kohli still has a lot to offer India, which is why any record of fellow cricketers is now threatened by Kohli’s magic.
Kohli equaled Tendulkar’s record of 277 innings on his 35th birthday. Tendulkar congratulated Kohli after this unique record in Kolkata.
Kohli’s biographer Vijay Lokapalli told news agency AAP, ‘Virat never plays for records. As he progressed, so did the records. His batting talent and hard work combine to create a magic. Persistence begets milestones. It has a great legacy from legends like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar.’
Just like how cricket crazy Indians used to go crazy watching Tendulkar play, they get the same feeling from Kohli. Kohli’s number 18 jersey is now seen everywhere on the Indian cricket field. More than 26,000 international runs, 79 centuries in three formats have already brought Kohli to the level of comparison with Tendulkar. Although Lokpalli disagrees, ‘Virat has always disliked comparisons. He has an entity of his own. Unlike Tendulkar, their style of play is also different. Sachin has faced a lot of horrible balls. Virat also defended those balls well. Sachin has no comparison. If Virat is enjoying cricket today, it is because of Tendulkar’s reputation of Indian cricket.’
Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif said, ‘When Virat wants to score 100, he does it. It’s really a privilege to see his innings in ODIs.’
India last won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. Earlier under Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the World Cup title in 2011. Kohli and Ravichandran Asheen were members of that team that won the World Cup 12 years ago. Kohli said, ‘Two years ago we played just two. The feeling of playing a World Cup at home is different. We want to do something good once again in front of familiar people in their familiar surroundings.’
Expressing his gratitude to Tendulkar, Kohli said, ‘It is a great privilege to share the record with my hero. He was perfect with the bat beyond imagination. It’s a really emotional moment.’
In 2021, Kohli stepped down as captain in the T20 format. He was dropped from ODI captaincy soon after.