The reasons Virat Kohli rules the 50-over game
At last, the moment that had been anticipated by 65,000 spectators at the Eden Gardens for the entire day arrived—THREE BALLS into the 48th over. Virat Kohli scored the run to tie his all-time record for ODI hundreds with his hero Sachin Tendulkar with a back-foot punch.
The festivities were solemn for a man who was meant for the stage. He took off his helmet, lifted his arms, and for a little period, he closed his eyes and looked heavenward, as if making a silent prayer. He then waved his bat in the direction of the changing area and collapsed onto his batting partner Ravindra Jadeja’s shoulders.
Maybe he was too exhausted to participate in the lively hundredth birthday celebrations that symbolized his exuberant youth. Their physique had suffered from the heat, humidity, and aging (he was 35 on Sunday).
Maybe reaching hundreds and achieving milestones has become regular for him, so it no longer excites him as much as it once did. Maybe the enormity of the achievement was beginning to set in. Sweat-soaked, he expressed his feelings as India’s innings ended after nine balls.
“It’s the stuff of dreams to equal the record on my birthday in front of such a large crowd,” he uttered, struggling to find the proper phrase while masking his tears with a bright smile.
“When you’re a kid, you hope for moments like that, so I’m really thankful to God for blessing me with these experiences. And so much love from the supporters. He responded, “I’ll just keep trying to help the team in any way I can,” to thunderous cheers from the assembly.
The story line, which featured Kohli hitting his 49th century on his birthday in front of the nation’s most famous cricket ground, could not have been more spectacular. The anticipation for this day had started almost three days prior, when Kohli was bowled out of the hundred in Mumbai by 12 runs.
When Kohli and co. arrived for practise on Saturday, a few thousand people gathered at the door, shouting his name with passion, like they were practicing a mantra.
They descended upon the stadium early on matchday, donning “Kohli masks” and the No. 18 jersey. They turned on their cellphone flashlights as he got closer to the landmark; in the foggy evening, they flickered like glow-worms.
On Sunday, only Kohli mattered.
With him, the world started and ended. Like any other Kohli, he brought them along on his voyage. Kohli gave it to us, just like Tendulkar did. He connects with them on such a deep personal level that they feel like they share his happiness and anguish. Over the course of 14 years of unwavering greatness, during which he raised the standard of greatness to an almost unreachable peak and defined and reinvented the art of batting in this format, Kohli developed the bond.
It is debatable if he is a master of the shortest format and unlikely if he could match Tendulkar’s body of work in the longest format. Kohli is King in the 50-over game, though. He bears the title “King Kohli” with appropriate bearing.
Data-crawling would confuse. Kohli has amassed 49 hundreds in just 277 innings of play. One out of six innings, that is. Tendulkar scored 49 runs in 452 innings, or one in nearly nine. Kohli’s wait was nonexistent, in contrast to Tendulkar, who toiled to reach his 100th century, and Kapil Dev, who hung on for his record 432nd wicket for several months.
He barely smashed his 45th at the beginning of the season; 20 innings later, he is on 49. Forty of them have resulted in successful causes.
The figures show how amazing Kohli has been and how brilliant his batsmanship is in this particular format. It may be said that Kohli, more than any other batsman, has captured the essence of this team in terms of both statistics and soul. Few people are capable of creating a chase, and even fewer are capable of setting up a target. He was perfectly capable of switching between roles. This was a textbook illustration of how he could shift from being the aggressor to the accumulator and back again, all while remaining the rock that prevented the building from collapsing.
It’s not that he couldn’t play the destroyer at the Eden; rather, it was more that he didn’t feel compelled to. “My job was to keep the momentum going when I got in,” he later said in an explanation. However, after ten overs, the wicket began to slow down and the ball began to grip. It was my responsibility to bat deep and hold on once the openers were out.
Though not many of his strokes are above his ability, Kohli has brought glamor and flair to the art of running singles and twos. Few people are faster, more insatiable runners between the wicket than him, or better judges of the single. A little prod here, a little tap there. He continued jogging even though it was getting tiring and the intense humidity was draining all of his energy. He hardly ever strolled for singles.
While reaching his hundred, Kohli unleashed a number of spectacular shots, like as a spectacular cover drive to start the innings and a majestic straight drive off Kagiso Rabada. However, he dutifully finished his record-tying 49th century with a single that achieved the day’s objective. For the millions of people who soaked up the event on television and smartphones, as well as the roughly 65,000 pairs of eyes that witnessed the moment in history at the Eden.