What does it take to make a hero? In the case of Virat Kohli, it took one night.
The night his father, Prem Kohli, expired and the 18-year-old Virat had the choice to either hang up his boots and cremate him or to go to bat for Delhi and save his Ranji team from humiliation and defeat. Much to the shock and disbelief of his teammates and opponents, Kohli chose the latter and scripted history at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. He single-handedly pulled his team out of trouble with a match-saving 90 runs, after which he dutifully went to cremate his old man.
It was on that very day, India saw a star being born; someone who would go on to become a phenomenon in the cricketing realm.
Today, Virat Kohli is a household subject, a superpower of cricket, a name to reckon with. He has always shown sensational skills in all cricketing formats but 2016 was something else even going by his lofty standards. This year, Kohli displayed unparalleled control and mastery to establish himself as the undisputed king of the crease.Let’s celebrate that.
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THE IPL RECORD-SMASHER.
Some call him a wizard, some the next Bradman but there is no denying that he is a lean, mean run machine who dominated the T-20 scene this year. As a leader and opener for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kohli never failed to excite fans and shut critics up while shattering records. In the 9th edition of the tournament, the batting wonder-boy led his side to the finals, eventually losing to the resilient and talented team from Hyderabad; but not before clocking in a record-breaking 973 runs. This also happens to be the maximum runs amassed by any batsman in the tournament. Sadly, he remained 1 run short of equalling Sir Don Bradman's record of 974 runs which the latter scored in the 1930 Ashes Test series. Some would say that comparing five Tests with 16 T20 games is unfair, but the numbers are a mere peek into what this extraordinary Delhi kid can actually achieve. This IPL window also made Kohli the highest run-getter in the tournament’s history with 4110 runs.
Among smaller records, Kohli’s name is now attributed to achieving the most runs in an over - these happen to be 30 of the most exquisite runs off Gujarat Lions' Shivil Kaushik. In fact, the IPL was one of the many times in recent history that Kohli had us speechless. Every time he got under the opponent’s skin, every tactic he used to establish dominance, and every streak of bold attitude he displayed on the field made us all feel the energy of his competitive prowess. Every match he played was a happy reminder to us all that he is still the most loved bad boy of cricket who never shies away from playing an aggressive game. As hapless opponents looked on, Kohli simply went from strength to strength.
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THE BEST IN TESTS.
Kohli made his captaincy debut in December 2014 against Australia as India’s 32nd Test Captain. Since then he has seen much success, the most noticeable one being the recent 3-0 thumping of New Zealand. With this victory, Kohli has taken India to the number one position in the ICC Test rankings. The next significant milestone arrives on November 9th when the 5-Test Series with England begins. But just to sweeten the odds, this 28-year-old match-winner has won 10 tests so far and now has his eyes on Mohammed Azharuddin’s record of winning 14 victories from 47 matches. The test series, that commences in Rajkot gives Kohli the golden opportunity to match Azhar’s record with 4 wins and go past him with 5. Considering his latest clean-sweep form, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the hosts could go for the jugular, and achieve a whitewash.
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THE ODI MASTER.
Saying that Virat Kohli has had great ODI success in 2016 would be a massive understatement. Currently he is the second highest-run scorer this year, following Englishman Joe Root. However, considering the explosive speed at which he is hammering records, it’s not impossible to assume that he will end the year at the top. Obliterating South African batting giant AB de Villiers’ achievement, Kohli recorded 7,500 ODI runs in just 167 innings, becoming the quickest one to do so. It is now clear that Kohli’s path would impress even the mighty Sachin Tendulkar. The former cemented his reputation as a roller-coaster hitmaker, when he clocked his 25th hundred in just 170 one-day international matches and 162 innings, becoming the fastest to get there. This record was previously held by the Master Blaster. Kohli is now joint-fourth with most hundreds in one-day cricket, a ranking that is bound to rise as he continues to bulldoze anyone who comes his way.
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THE RISE AND RISE.
The story of Virat Kohli is nothing short of a Bollywood blockbuster - humble roots, a fearless attitude in the face of foes mixed with an undying spirit to win. The meteoric rise to stardom has made him the latest member of the 100-crore club with more than 13 coveted brand endorsements under his belt. However, above the glare of the spotlight is a player who never refrains from showing his true colours – innovative, aggressive, compassionate yet completely unabashed. The responsibilities he shoulders are not feeble, and the ease and integrity with which he carries our dreams to the field, gives us hope and makes us proud to be born in a generation that gave the world a player like him. Take a bow, champion.