India’s run machine and probably the best batsman in the world at the moment, Virat Kohli celebrates his 28th birthday today. Ever since his debut in 2008, he has been scoring consistently in all the three formats, especially in limited overs cricket. Kohli plays his game aggressively, makes his emotions loud and clear to everyone but still has a sense of maturity which is what makes him great.
Kohli started his international career in 2008 in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. It was the first ODI of the tour when he got his chance but couldn’t do anything special as he scored just 12 runs off 33 balls and India lost that match by 8 wickets. Kohli made his mark in ODI cricket in the 4th ODI at Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka when India needed 316 to win the match. India didn’t have a good start losing Sachin and Sehwag at the score of 23. Kohli walked in at number 4 and Gambhir and Kohli took the match away from Sri Lanka. Nobody expected it from Kohli as he was just a youngster at that time. To perform in such a high pressure chase must have been a huge boost in confidence for him. The flicks, the pulls, the cover drives, everything was on display in that innings. Gambhir received the man of the match for his 150 but he offered his award to Kohli because his innings had a big impact on the result. From thereon, there was nothing that could stop him.
As time passed, Virat Kohli grew in stature and opponent teams started to see him as a potent force. His 133 against Sri Lanka in Hobart in 2012 is probably his best till now. Sri Lanka scored 320 runs and India needed to chase down the target in 40 overs to stay alive in the tri series and due to Kohi’s heroics, India chased it down in just 36.4 overs. The extent to which he terrorized the Sri Lankan bowlers can be seen by the fact that their premier bowler, Lasith Malinga went for 96 runs in his 7.4 overs. Then in the same year Kohli recorded his highest score in ODI cricket of 183 decimating Pakistan in Asia Cup in Bangladesh. Kohli almost single-handedly kept India in the tournament with a performance so supreme it led Misbah-ul-Haq to call it one of the best ODI innings he had seen. His recent exploits against New Zealand helping India to chase down 286 scoring 154 is alos among the best he has played.
Kohli’s talent in the shortest format can be seen from the fact that his average in T20s in 2016 is 106.83. Kohli has so many great innings in T20 cricket that it’s hard to pick one, be it the 82 against Australia in WC 2016, 90 against Australia in Australia or 49 against Pakistan when Aamir was bowling the spell of his life.
Virat Kohli recently became the only Indian to score two double hundreds as the captain of India. He is now 4th in the list of batsman with most no. of centuries behind Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Sanath Jayasuria. Kohli, with 14 hundreds in successful chases in ODIs, has equalled Tendulkar’s record. His overall tally of 16 hundreds in chases is the second highest next only to Tendulkar’s 17. A lot of records have been broken by him and hopefully many will be broken in the future which proves that Virat Kohli is a legend in the making if not one already.