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This is a tale that many of us are familiar with and will be narrated again in the years to come. It was an act that stunned his teammates and the opposition as well. Its a story of a man’s passion for the game.
In December 2006, in the group ‘A’ Ranji match between Karnataka and Delhi. Karnataka had posted a huge first innings total of 446. Delhi chasing stumbled and lost half of their men. Then out walked an 18 year old who along with the keeper stood tall not out overnight. But that night the world turned upside down for this youngster. His father, who was his everything at just 54 years old passed away. It was at 4 a.m in the morning this happened and he was faced with an awful choice whether to cremate his father or to complete his innings for Delhi .The story of the demise reached the Delhi camp dressing room. The Day was about to begin and batsman ready all padded up. But shocking his teammates, the officials and even the opposition this youngster reached the dressing room in his cricketing gear.
Overnight he transformed from an 18 year old teenager into a mature adult. That teenager was none other than our Indian captain the run-machine Virat Kohli. He batted for 236 balls and scored 90 after which he was eventually given out despite replays showing that bat had brushed the pads, the team was just in touching distance in avoiding the follow-on and later was able to draw the match.
The Kohli we know was born, he never had to look back after that. Only a man with immense love for the game can put aside his personal tragedy and help pull his side from the jaws of defeat. It showed the mental strength that defined him. He played for his father who always wanted him to be a cricketer, nothing ever seemed to deter Kohli into playing for India ever since that day. Within less than 2 years after that tragedy Kohli had enough under his bag to make him the skipper of the India U-19 side for the world cup. He led his team to the title and everyone was forced to applaud the talent of this youngster. He then just marched forward overcoming every obstacle thrown in front of him.
With just 3 years into his career he was already the next big thing to look out for. Virat was part of the historic World cup win in 2011. After this world cup he turned into the poster boy of Indian cricket as runs appeared to galore everywhere from his bat. Although he was often criticised for his bad temperament on the field, he always managed to shut each of his critics with his performances. He replied them with his bat. Each and every tournament he was the batting pillar of the Indian team scoring runs everywhere.
In December 2014 in Adelaide when M.S Dhoni stepped down as the test captain , Virat was handed over the baton as the test captain of the Indian Cricket team. Many doubted how with his aggressive nature he would lead from the front ,many doubted the skills of one of the best limited over player in the longer format ,he did not have a many long innings(double ton) under his belt till then, many feared that this huge responsibility would slump his batting form .But that was not to be ,what followed was Kohli taking it to another level, he slammed four centuries in the series including hundreds in both the innings in his very first match as captain. After this he won a test series in SriLanka after more than 20 years followed by win against South Africa at home. But many still were cynical about whether he could be one of the best batsmen in the Test format due to the pressure of captaincy, and when the others in so-called fab five whether Kane, Smith ,Root or ABD was piling up runs in the longer format as well. He averaged just in the 40s and was considered not among the best. But Virat refused to settle for this ,he like always began letting his bat speak .He became the first man to score four double hundreds in four consecutive series and by the end of 2016, he averaged above 50 in tests and climbed his way to the second spot in the rankings in the longer format. Kohli always made sure he silenced his critics.
When many believed he would never emulate the international form in the IPL as he didn’t have many big innings to speak of ahead of the 2016 IPL season, swinging his bat like a magic wand he slammed four centuries and even surpassed the 800 run mark, feats no other player had ever been able to achieve before him. Virat believes in himself like no one ever does, he has always been aggressive in nature on the field ,whenever there was any question raised about his game he made sure that he replied them with the bat in a way that shuts the room for any more once and for all. Whether it was his technique, his captaincy or his temperament he made sure his performances speak .In just 23 tests, he made the Indian team ranked below sixth in to the world’s number one ranked team. Virat Kohli has now lead India to 19 consecutive wins without tasting defeat, something which no other Indian captain has been able to do so far .On the field he has always led by example with his aggression ,his fielding by diving around he has forced his fellow mates to absorb his enthusiasm and follow him. He is probably one of the fittest man in the country right now. No other cricketer has a better average than Kohli while chasing which is a proof to the immense mental strength of this maestro .As India gear up for the all-important series against the Aussies, it will be interesting to see his captaincy and his captaincy .With Smith the only batsman above him in the rankings and Warner in staggering form it will be a battle to determine the best and for sure Virat will take it to the opposition ,he will never shy away from sledging showing his aggression or let anyone diminish his hunger for runs for the team or even set an example in the field.
From a heartbroken teen to the best in the world throughout this amazing journey, he has worked on everything whenever and wherever, be it his fitness or his technique to reach what he is today. Virat being an introvert has never talked much of the hardships he has gone through. He is the best role model to many youngsters who have dreams that nothing should come between you and your passion and nothing must ever stop you from achieving your dream. As Virat marches forward to take guard for his next mission I hope he fights successfully again and again in the years to come overcoming all the hurdles like the warrior that he truly is, I would like to salute you Sir Virat Kohli you really are a synonym of dedication.