Each time this guy comes to bat, the Indian team captain is setting the bar high. He has probably reached a point in his career, where he can be compared to no one other than himself.
Having come to the limelight during his scintillating captaincy which helped India win the U-19 Cricket World Cup for the 3rd time, Kohli has grown from strength to strength and is undoubtedly one of the best batsman to grace the second decade of the 21st century
Known for his flamboyant, aggressive and sometimes his careless character, he has translated his aggressiveness into a desire to win everything and has become much more measured in what he speaks and comments.
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Sachin was once asked post his retirement on who he thinks could break his record for most runs and most centuries, and he promptly took 2 names, that of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Though Rohit Sharma is a brilliant cricketer, he has become a symbol of inconsistency just like Sehwag at the top order. While Kohli seems to be on the path of fulfilling Sachin’s prophecy.
He has already struck 32 centuries in ODI cricket, and is only second to the God himself. In Tests, his tally is 17 and it seems there is no team in the world currently who has a definitive answer to the run-machine.
As he turns 29 today, let us have a look at the top 5 centuries of Virat Kohli spanning both Tests and ODIs.
100* vs Australia , Jaipur 2013 (ODI)
This was a watershed series between the 2 teams, where the bowlers of both the teams faced the wrath of the batsmen, and where Indians chased scores of above 350 twice with Kohli making centuries in both of them. But the best came in Jaipur, where he scored the century in 52 balls, fastest by an Indian in an ODI.
With India needing 360 to win, Rohit and Shikhar provided the perfect start to India, but it was Virat who stole the show. Scintillating shots all over the ground, impeccable timing defined his innings as India won with 6 balls to spare.
183 vs Pakistan, Asia Cup, 2012, Dhaka (ODI)
Another over 6 an overs run chase and it is a India Pakistan match. Pressures and stakes are high, with Pakistan having put 329 on the board with the openers Hafeez and Jamshed having smacked the Indian bowlers all over the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
India had a bad start to its innings, with Gambhir shedding away his fortress at just the 2nd ball. This is where, the master and the prodigy, Tendulkar and Kohli stitched together a partnership of 133 runs to steady the ship. And after the master was gone, his prodigy unleashed the fury against the Pakistani bowlers.
Kohli’s innings of 183 off 148 balls, announced his arrival to the ODI scene and was a typical Virat innings, with shots all around the park, while also ensuring minimum risk with maximum results.
119 vs South Africa, Johannesburg (Test), 2013
This was the innings after which Kohli really gained confidence in the Test cricket circuit. Before this, he had scored runs, but under friendly Indian conditions. The South African tour was his first test where he faced the wrath of the likes of Steyn and Philander.
India, as it often happens in England and South Africa, were in trouble having lost Dhawan and Vijay for a meagre score of 24 on the board. But then, it was Pujara and Kohli, who steadied the ship and the 89 run stand between them brought the Indian inning back on track.
Post Pujara’s dismissal, he partnered with Rahane for a 68 run stand, but throughout the innings he lacked partners at the other end. India posted 280 in the first innings, and the match ended in a draw, with South Africa just planning to pull it through the last day.
But it was Kohli’s both innings (he scored 96 in the second), that gave him the much needed boost as a Test batsman and after this match, there was no stopping this genius.
169 vs Australia, Melbourne 2014
A series which will be remembered for the sledging, fights and the drubbing of the Indians by the resurrecting Aussies. But what overshadowed it was the form of both the captains, Kohli and Smith in the entire series. It was as if one player was giving a befitting reply to the other, notching up centuries inning after inning.
The 3rd test, with India already 2-0 down in the series and the Aussies having posted a huge 530 runs in the first innings. It was Kohli’s second test as a full time Test captain, and there was pressure to perform as well as lead the side.
And so that’s what he did in style. Along with Ajinkya Rahane, he made a feast of the feared Aussie pace attack, especially hitting Mitchell Johnson all over the park.
From 147/3, the duo took India’s score up to 409. It was a typical Test innings, played with the utmost calm, shots all over the ground, and battling the continuous sledging from the Aussies.
This innings brought out to the world the transformed Kohli in many ways
133* vs Srilanka, Hobart 2012 (ODI)
This was the game maybe, which made the world hail Kohli as the “Chase Master”. It was a must win game for India, and to reach the finals of the CB series, India needed to chase down 320 within 40 overs.
A good start for India by the openers ensured that Kohli entered at a situation, where India was breezing at 86 runs in 10 overs. He combined with Gambhir to take India to 201 in 27 overs. However, as Raina joined him, they went on a rampage against the likes of Malinga, Kulasekara and Perrera.
The 4 consecutive boundaries he scored off Malinga in an over still must be giving nightmares to the bowler.