The beginnings…Hailing from a Punjabi family in Delhi, a young lad burst onto the international cricketing scene in 2008 after a phenomenal showdown in Malaysia, leading his team to U-19 World Cup glory, taming an almost invincible South Africa in the final.
His cricketing days in his youth started under the chaperonage of Rajkumar Sharma at West Delhi Cricket Academy. However, losing his father to a stroke just two years before his glory days in the international scene was a massive setback for the Indian skipper.
His youth career took flight in 2002 after an impressive start in the Polly Umrigar Trophy, where he amassed 172 runs at a steady average of 34.40, being the leading run-scorer of Delhi U-15. In the forthcoming year, he was shouldered with the captaincy of the team and it seemed like he was born to lead as his performances shot to the sky instantly. His impressive figures read 390 runs from 5 innings, including a couple of centuries. He is none other than our very own Virat Kohli.
His batting prowess was already winning fans all over the country. After a successful outing in the Polly Umrigar Trophy, his next canvas to paint was the Vijay Merchant Trophy. This strapping lad from the heart of Delhi was getting even brighter with every passing tournament as his exploits in the VM trophy was 470 runs and a best of unbeaten 271.
He never had to look back as his batting flair got better with every passing game and in the ensuing year’s VM trophy, Kohli smashed an astonishing 757 runs from 7 matches at a staggering average of 117.50.
The international call…The call soon came to represent India in the U-19 squad and Kohli didn’t disappoint. An average of 58 in the Test Series and 41.66 in the limited-overs format was 41.66, was noteworthy for a batsman so young.
There comes a point in time in every hero’s life when he has a difficult choice to make and Kohli’s most decisive call came on the day of his father passing away. After scoring just 10 runs on his debut, his next test was Karnataka. He blasted a superb 90 before being dismissed and then straightaway headed to his father’s funeral.
In his following herculean task of leading the Indian U-19 squad in the 2008 World Cup convened in Malaysia, he came out with flying colours. He plundered 235 runs at an astonishing average of 47, with his blistering century against West Indies being picked as the best innings of the tournament.
His debut in the U-19 T-20 canon was equally impressive as he managed to rake up 146 runs from 5 matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. After punching heroically above his weight, Kohli was brought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30000 on a youth contract.
His hailing on to the international scene wasn’t a very promising one as he only managed to score 12 against Sri Lanka. However, the fourth match in the series saw him turning the tide around and displaying sheer class with a painstaking 54 that helped India to bundle up the series.
Post his heroic showdowns in Sri Lanka and the Nissar Trophy, he was selected in the Board President’s XI to face the might of an Australian bowling line up that comprised the likes of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson.
However, this young rebel from Delhi had no intention of slowing down as he soared against this imperious Australia to record a fabulous 105.
After being picked up for the Emerging Players Tournament held in Australia, he showcased his class with 398 runs at an average of 66.33 and he also bagged the award for the highest run-scorer of the tournament.
Responsibility grows…After consistent and phenomenal knocks, Kohli’s recognition was already on the cards and he was announced as the vice-captain of the Indian cricket team alongside Suresh Raina being the captain in the tri-nation series against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Despite India crashing out early due to limited performances by the youngsters, Kohli ‘s dominance knew no bounds as he managed to smash a couple of half-centuries.
However, after his form slumped in the Asian Cup 2010, he was on the brink of being dropped again, but the selectors still chose to keep faith in the youngster and that was repaid with equal brilliance. He smashed a carefully stitched century against Australia, as India chased down a mammoth total of 290.
His next enterprise was New Zealand and his battleaxe simply seemed more shining as he managed to strike a century and another wondrous 63 to complete a humiliating rout of the Kiwis.
After being the fastest Indian to reach 1000 runs, he went on to become the highest scorer for India in 2010 with 995 runs, challenging the stalwarts of the game, already.
In a brewing contest between him and Raina, where the latter was displaying palpable fragility against short balls, both of them were picked for the 2011 World Cup. However, Kohli made the cut for India’s first game against Bangladesh and smashed a brilliant century against the Indian neighbours.
However, once again the déjà vu of his inconsistency was sneaking in as he failed to score big numbers in the following matches. He came back to form against West Indies with a decent 59 but once again dropped out of favour of consistency as his quarter-final and semi-final essays weren’t something to be proud of.
However, in the final with Sachin and Sehwag dismissed early to the searing pace and swing of Lasith Malinga and with India’s task cut out, he crafted a brilliant 35, thereby playing an imperative role in building a partnership with Gambhir to steady India’s ship.
Kohli’s stand-in captaincy began when Dhoni was ruled out of the ODI triangular series with an injury and in his very match as a captain, Kohli smashed a century that resulted in West Indies’ humiliation. He was turning more consistent and even more aggressive in the following series.
Already in a knack to kiss greatness, his dalliance with records started as he became the fastest Indian to score a century, blasting it off a mere 48 deliveries against Australia. This blitzkrieg knock helped India to chronicle the second-highest chase in the history of ODI cricket with India notching up 360 runs from only 44 overs.
Records are set…His ensuing knocks read 68 which went down in a defeat and a scintillating 115 from 66 deliveries, once again aiding India to chase down another 350 plus score. With this century, he also became the fastest batsman in the world to score 17 international centuries. For the first time in his career, Kohli moved to the pole of ICC ODI batting rankings.
In the following outing against West Indies, he paralleled Sir Vivian Richards’ record of reaching 5000 international runs from 114 innings and in the process scored a match-defining 86.
Despite a mediocre show in the ODI series in South Africa, his first test heralded the arrival of a great. He scored a fine century and followed it with a lovely 96.
In the ensuing tour against New Zealand, Kohli averaged 58.21 in the ODI series and 71.33 in the Test series.
With Dhoni sidelined due to a side strain, Kohli’s first call to lead the squad came in the prestigious hunt for continental glory, Asian cup. In the very opener of the tournament for India, Kohli smashed a blistering 136 to chase 280 successfully. However, defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka crashed India out of the tournament.
Dhoni returned as the captain for the World T-20 and under his leadership, India successfully made it to the finals. Kohli had a significant contribution in India’s advancement as he averaged at 106.33 with a total of 319 runs that fetched him the man of the tournament award.
With India touring England, Kohli faced massive criticism after abysmal techniques that exposed his jocular and James Anderson made the best out of it, however, his return to India helped him to slowly get back to his form. After a singular knock of 66 from 41 deliveries, Kohli kissed the ace in the ICC T-20 Batting rankings.
He finally returned back to his heydays with a decent outing against West Indies on his home turf. The following tour against West Indies saw him leading the pack as Dhoni rested himself in the tour and Kohli battered the bowlers for scores of 22, 49, 53, 66 and a bombastic 139 to put an icing on the cake.
Another record crumbled in front of Kohli’s genius as he became the fastest batsman to score 6000 international runs.
After two whitewashes under his belt, Kohli took over the reins of the test team with Dhoni axed due to an injury and in his very first venture as a test captain, he went on to register a century at Adelaide. His second innings knock was even better than the first as with 364 to chase, Kohli scored 141.
Kohli did not have a good outing in the third test of the series and his ascension to the status of being a God began in the final test of the sequence. He was accorded the captaincy after Dhoni hung his boots for the longer format of the game and he smashed a blistering 147 and notched up the record of being the first batsman to score three centuries in his first three tests as a captain.
Despite showcasing a decent performance in the group stages of the 2015 World Cup, he failed to make it big in the knockouts and India was eliminated by eventual champions, Australia in the semi-finals.
1,000 runs in just 27 innings…While India toured South Africa after a phenomenal victory against West Indies under Kohli’s leadership, Kohli became the fastest cricketer to reach the milestone of 1000 runs in T-20 cricket, needing only 27 innings to complete the touchdown.
His ascending form continued as he went on to score 49, and an unbeaten 56 and 41 respectively to lift the trophy. His T-20 form hit a new high after a slew of belligerent knocks from the run-machine. After scoring a quickfire 55 to usher India to victory against Pakistan, he followed it with a scintillating 82 from 51 deliveries to dismantle Australia. Despite a brilliant 89 from only 47 deliveries in the semi-final, India still had to suffer a defeat, thanks to some dogged batting from West Indies.
As his tryst with some amazing form continued, he was picked as the captain of the ‘team of the tournament’ for the ICC World T-20.
Kohli amassed another record en route to greatness as he went on to score double centuries in back-to-back series against England and Bangladesh respectively, a record which made him the first-ever batman to achieve this feat.
With an unbeaten 96 against Bangladesh in the semi-finals, Kohli became the fastest batsman to score 8000 runs in international cricket.
Kohli’s next record was equalling Ponting’s haul of 30 ODI centuries and he also became the first batsman to score the most runs at the best average in 200 games. This year was simply a transcending platform for Virat Kohli as he went to score 2818 international runs, which is the highest in a calendar year by any Indian and also the third-highest in the tally.
On 5th August 2018, Virat Kohli became the seventh Indian batsman to achieve the pole position in ICC Test Rankings, dismantling Steve Smith from the ace.
Virat shortly achieved the milestone of being the fastest batsman to reach the hallowed figure of 1000 international runs and he became the fastest player to notch up this wondrous feat. He also became the fastest Indian and the second fastest overall batsman to register 25 centuries, only below Sir Donald Bradman. Kohli also became the first captain and the first batsman for India to score three consecutive centuries. He also became the fastest captain to score 5000 runs in test, only taking 86 innings for the same.
Despite not boasting about regular consistency in Indian Premier League, Kohli still holds the record of the highest individual runs in a single season where he went on to score 973 runs to propel Bangalore to the finals.
What makes Kohli such an impressive batsman is his ability to cope with pressure. He becomes a destructor-in-chief whenever India is chasing a mammoth total. His brain works like a calculator and he not only plays the anchor to the innings but stays until the end to finish it.
Award after award…He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2013, Padma Shri in 2017 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2018. He also went on to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy which was known as ICC Cricketer of the year in 2017 and 2018. He went on to notch up the ICC ODI player of the year in 2012, 2017 and 2018, ICC Test player of the year in 2018, Wisden Leading cricketer in the world in 2016, 2017 and in 2018.
His honour tally is endless and given the fact that he still has a good deal of cricket left in him, experts have prophesized that if someone exists at the moment to shatter Sachin Tendulkar’s records, it is Virat Kohli and with the technical prowess, the Indian captain brags about, it won’t be astounding to see him kiss the pinnacle of records in a short time.