The whole cricketing fraternity is celebrating Team India’s skipper Virat Kohli’s 30th birthday, who has had yet another fantastic year on and off the cricket field.
Kohli, on the field, had a record-breaking year, especially in ODI cricket where he recently became the fastest batsman to cross the 10,000 run-mark. The Delhi lad has scored 1202 runs at a brilliant average of 133.55 in 14 innings this year – magical numbers that definitely deserves a mention with the likes of Sir Don Bradman.
However, Kohli’s run to the top has not been smooth from the start. He has faced many difficulties and overcame like a true champion. At an age of 30, when he is enjoying his peak as a batsman and leading Team India with pride and passion, this is definitely the best time of Virat Kohli’s career.
Off-the-field too, Virat Kohli is enjoying a beautiful married life with Bollywood star Anushka Sharma.
People dream to have a life like Virat Kohli, but very few know what it takes to climb up a mountain.
Let us take a look at 3 things that changed Virat Kohli’s career:
1. A young Virat Kohli was brought to train in the Raj Kumar Sharma’s coaching clinic in West Delhi Cricket Academy by his father Prem Kohli. At first glance, Raj Kumar was adamant that Kohli didn’t have anything special quality in his bag and was a regular nine-year-old ‘chubby’ kid.
"He was like most other boys; restless, enthusiastic, keen to get a stint in the nets. We really hadn't seen anything extraordinary," recounts Raj Kumar, an off-spinner in his playing days, in the biography - Driven: The Virat Kohli Story.
However, his opinion took a toll soon after as the coach recalled, "I remember vividly. He produced a throw that made heads turn. He was just nine, but the accuracy and power in that throw gave an indication that he had one quality - the feel for the game - and we lost no time in concentrating on Virat."
This was the first time Virat Kohli made a mark, and this was just the beginning of an unforgettable journey.
2. In 2006, Karnataka played Delhi in a Ranji match. After conceding 446 in the first innings, Delhi was left reeling at 14-3. This later became 59-5, as the last recognized batting pair. His partner was younger still – an 18-year-old Virat Kohli. Kohli and Bisht batted their hearts out and by the end of the day Kohli was playing at 40.
However, later that night, Virat Kohli received a notice that Prem Kohli – his father- had passed away.
The following morning, Delhi Coach Chetan Chauhan had instructed the next batter to pad up as Kohli would be busy attending his father’s funeral. But to their surprise, Virat Kohli showed up on time, fully padded up and said that he “wanted to” bat.
Kohli smashed 90 runs and each run was a tribute to his father, who had introduced him to the cricket field.
From 14-3, Kohli took Delhi to 211 with now only 36 runs needed to avoid the follow-on. After Kohli’s dismissal when Delhi was fighting tooth and nails for a draw, a young Kohli was cremating his father.
3. It was December 2009, Virat Kohli was fighting for his place in the XI and his debut had come sixteen months ago, but he had failed to score a single century till now.
India was locking horns against Sri Lanka at the iconic Eden Gardens, Kolkata with a 2-1 lead in the series.
Sri Lanka batted first and scored 315-6. In return, India lost both Sachin and Sehwag in the first four overs and their scoreboard read 28-2. However, alongside Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli showed why he was termed ‘special’ by many, he played Malinga with elegance and confidence.
Kohli used his feet to perfection against spin, that too in a pitch where stepping out against the spinners was seen as suicidal. Kohli reached the three-figure mark for the first time in ODI cricket and in just 108 balls. His knock was central to India clinching the series and that was the beginning of a confident Kohli, who would smash centuries for fun.
Kohli is a rare gem in the world of cricket, who has matched the basics with the innovation to perfection. His elegance while batting is a treat to watch, and his passion while leading the team is only to be admired. Virat Kohli is a talent that comes once in a century, so let us cherish his centuries with the bat.
Happy birthday King Kohli.