Virat Kohli, Indian cricket’s No. 18 is a lot of things. Genius. Provocateur. Artist. These are just a few words one may use to describe the Indian cricket team’s captain across all formats. None of these adjectives do any justice to his work. The word, record-breaker is one of them. And yet, the way he is turning out to be, record-maker would be a term more and more people use.
Records. Kohli broke quite a few as he scored yet another double hundred at Nagpur against a listless Sri Lankan attack. Not only did he equal Brian Lara’s record of five double centuries but, he also has the most number of centuries by a captain in a single calendar year. It’s time for a celebration then, isn’t it? But, it’s also a time to remember some of his greatest innings, across all formats. So, here goes
141 v Australia, Adelaide Oval
There can be no inning that comes even close to what King Kohli did and achieved in the second innings of the Adelaide Test of 2014 against an attack led by Mitchell Johnson. The first Test match to be played after the untimely demise of Australian Phil Hughes, it would also be the match to show Kohli’s Test credentials in a country not in the subcontinent. If the century in the first innings was great, the one in the second innings, an innings constructed with sheer grit and determination while chasing a massive target on the final day was a thing of beauty. India lost the match but, he didn’t. Each of Kohli’s four centuries in the series was a treat but, this one was truly special. Arguably one of the greatest fourth-innings centuries in history and one of the better Test matches in the past few years.
55* v Pakistan, Eden Gardens
World T20. Against Pakistan. At the Eden Gardens. The occasion needed someone like Virat Kohli to step up. And he did. After Mohammad Aamir and Sami and wrecked through our entire top order, Kohli stepped up to steady the ship and chase down a modest target. Never letting the occasion get to him, Kohli counter-attacked like he does and ran furiously and hit sharply to steer India to victory. This wasn’t a usual century from Virat but, was equally important and impressive.
133* v Sri Lanka, Hobart Oval
The innings that announced Virat Kohli to the world. Kohli had already been suggested to be a special cricketer, a cricketer for the future. This was the innings that truly had him take up the mantle to become one of the best young cricketers of the year. Chasing a target of over 330 in 36 overs against a modest but, wily bowling attack, Virat Kohli played one of the most watchable innings in recent memory filled with exquisite drives through cover and powerful flicks through the leg. Having scored another century in the test series before, Kohli emerged the only star from the disastrous Australia tour of 2011-12.
82* v Australia, Mohali
Another World T20 match. Except, this time it was the quarter-finals against the mighty Australia. Kohli had lost most of the top order and after a brief partnership with Yuvraj Singh pressed the accelerator and led a thrilling chase of Australia’s total. Ably supported by Captain Dhoni, Virat played not one errant shot in his innings of pure, calculated aggression. Instead, it was a masterclass in pure stroke-making. Do re-watch this innings and marvel how the pair ran two with the ball not even leaving the 30-yard circle.
100* v Australia, Jaipur
The Australian Tour of India, 2013 was the series where bowlers from both sides forgot how to do so. Boundaries and sixes flew left and right and bowlers were practically slaughtered, with no target safe from being chased down. The second ODI of the series was one such match when after the massive contribution of Shikhar Dhawan, Kohli alongside Rohit Sharma played a blinder of an innings, reminiscent of the other great Delhi-born Indian opener, Virender Sehwag. Scoring a century in 52 balls, this would be the template for Kohli’s IPL exploits to come later.
183* v Pakistan, Mirpur
122 v England, Pune
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