Virat Kohli, The Birthday Boy, The Genius
It’s 2008, and a chubby teenager has caught everyone’s eyes when he led India to their 2nd Under 19 World Cup title in 2008. He was also exceptional with the bat, being the 3rd highest run scorer in the tournament, scoring 235 runs at an average of 47 and a SR of 95. Today is the birthday of Virat Kohli.
Yes, he was Virat Kohli.
Early Years for Virat
Soon, he also got a callup from the national team in ODIs, after just 5 months of winning the U-19 tournament. And everyone’s eyebrows got raised as VK had played less than 10 List- A matches before making his International Debut. But captain Dhoni and Indian selectors had enough faith on him. Virat got to play as an opener when Sehwag was injured and unavailable for the match.
Also, Read – Picking India’s All-Time Test XI
In this match, VK definitely didn’t look good, he scored 12(22). India eventually lost the match too.
Virat got to play another match, this time Gambhir also got injured, and VK opened the innings with Irfan, and as we know him now as the chase master, he showed glimpses like that in that match.
On a Dambulla pitch, generally difficult to bat, Virat scored 37(67). (2nd highest run scorer in the innings)
In the subsequent matches, he had scores of 25(38), 54(66), 31(46). VK in this series has the 2nd highest runs for India at an avg of 32 and SR of 66.
An All Format Player
He also got to debut in Tests as well as T20Is in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
In T20Is, he debuted against Zimbabwe under the captaincy of skipper Suresh Raina. In T20Is, he wasn’t up to the mark initially. Firstly, in his initial 7 innings, he had a batting average of 23 and a SR of 119. And after that, he never looked to have a bad form ever in T20I. For reference, in the next 7 innings, he had an average of 39 and a SR of 129.
Now in T20Is, he’s certainly the greatest batsman ever, he has the record of scoring the most runs, most fifties, highest average. He was also the Man of the Tournament in 2014 and 2016 T20 World Cups.
“Kohli keeps getting better and better.” says Steve Smith
2013 was the breakthrough year for Virat Kohli, he breaked the stereotype of him being an ‘ODI Specialist’ by scoring centuries Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa, in ODIs he was top class, reaching the No.1 spot in the ODI batting rankings for the first time.
He was 3rd at the T20I rankings in the end of 2013 compared to his 10th position in the preceding year. In Tests, he rose up to 11th ranking compared to his 37th position in the preceding year.
Leadership wasn’t a new thing for Virat Kohli as such. He had captained U-19 side in 2008, also he captained his domestic side for a season or so.
Kohli was appointed the vice-captain of the ODI team in 2012, he was also the vice captain in Tests afterwards.
The 2014 Asia Cup was his first important assignment as a captain, though India weren’t able to win it, but it clearly showed that India had a future captain in making. And with no surprise, when Dhoni stepped down from Tests in 2014, Virat was made the captain of the team and he’s one of the most successful captains ever in all formats in the modern era.
His win% in Tests is 60%, and the most notable achievement under him has been the Australia Test Series victory in 2018-19.
Also, Read – Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith
In 2017 Virat got the opportunity to captain the side in limited overs too. In ODIs he has a win% of 72% which is again one of the best ever. His first ICC Trophy as a captain was the Champions Trophy in 2017, though India looked good in the league stages, but in the finals against Pakistan, except Hardik every batsman looked toothless. As a result, India lost the final.
He was rested for the Asia Cup 2018, hence his second big assignment was definitely the 2019 WC held in England. Again India was good in the league stages, but faltered in the knockout stages. It was the semi final against NZ, but here the team was a bit unlucky. The rain in the first day of the match made batting seem very tough, and as a result the Indian top order collapsed, Rahul, Rohit, Kohli all scored just 1 runs each, the middle order came to rescue, but India lost the game by just 18 runs. Jadeja and MSD scored fifities in that match.
Notable achievement in ODIs under Kohli is that except England, India has won a ODI series against every team overseas.
In T20Is, he is yet to captain in a big tournament but given his captaincy in T20I bilaterals, he’ll make it big in the biggest stage too.
Under Kohli, India has won a T20I series in every country except Australia. (as Aus series remained in a draw because one match got cancelled due to rain)
In T20Is, Kohli has a win% of 66% in T20Is.
Amongst Indians, Virat has the best win% as a captain in every format.
The Match Winner
There are many players who score runs but their runs aren’t that impactful to win the game for their team. But Virat is an impact player, and India’s winning chances in a game are highly determined by Virat’s scoring in that match.
In ODIs he’s having the 3rd highest no. of MoM awards, what separates him from the rest is the no. of matches taken by him. He has 36 MoM awards in 248 matches, that is a rate of 1 MoM in every 6.89 matches! Only 15 players have 25+ MoM awards, and none of them have a better MoM winning rate than Virat Kohli.
In T20Is, he has the record of most MoM awards, with 12 awards in 82 matches. Amongst players having 7+ MoM awards, he has the 3rd best MoM win% just behind Gayle and Nabi.
“We can be braver with the bat.” says Virat Kohli
In Intl. Cricket overall, he has the 3rd most no. of MoM awards with 57 awards in 416 games. His winning rate is 7.29 matches, and this is the best for any player having 40+ MoM awards.
Now, talking about his runs in winning causes.
For any batsman playing 50+ innings in winning causes in ODIs, Virat has the highest average, of 77.37.
For any batsman playing 20+ innings in winning causes in T20Is, Virat has the highest average, of 64.93.
In International Cricket, for batsman playing 100+ innings in winning causes, Virat again has the highest average, of 70.28.
What ‘they’ said
- The kind of form he is in, he’s picked this ball yesterday afternoon- Harsha Bhogle
- He’s just an unbelievable batsman, no need to say more. – Lara
- There’s no shame in being beaten by a genius, Virat is a freak – Vaughan
- I love watching Virat bat, he reminds me of myself – Viv Richards
- To become a good player you need talent, to become a great player you need an attitude like Kohli. – Gavaskar
- Kohli’s success don’t surprise you, his failures do. – Manjrekar
- Even if they used a marble, Virat will see it like a balloon – Warner
- When it comes to chasing, it is said that the cheetah is fastest. But this cheetah chases even faster than the cheetah itself – Aakash Chopra.
- Kohli has done wonders for the country in a short span of time. He is someone who can raise the value of Indian cricket with his intensity and his hunger to win. You could see this on his face when he walks out to bat or on to the field when he captains India.” –Sourav Ganguly
- Virat Kohli is the prince of Indian Cricket – Ian Chappell
Performance in ICC Tournaments
As we discussed him as a captain in ICC Tournaments, let’s discuss his performances as a batsman there.
He’s the only batsman to win the Man of the Tournaments in World Cups more than one time. That clearly hints how exceptional he has been in ICC Tournaments.
Except the 2011 World Cup, he has performed exceptionally well in every ICC Tournament.
- Champions Trophy (CT) 2009- avg-95 SR-74
- WC 2011- avg-35 SR-82
- T20 WC 2012-46 avg-123
- CT 2013- avg-59 SR-96
- WC 2014- avg-106 SR-129
- CWC 2015- avg-51 SR-82
- WC 2016- avg-137 SR-147
- CT 2017- avg-129 SR-99
- WC 2019- avg-55 SR-94
Overall in ODI World Cups, Virat has scored 1030 runs at an average of 47 with a SR of 87.
In T20 World Cups, he has scored 777 runs at an average of 86 with a SR of 133.
In Champions Trophies, he has scored 529 runs at an average of 82 with a SR of 92.
He has performed well in the Asia Cup Tournaments too, the most notable performance being the 183 scored by him against Pakistan.
(Yes I know, Asia Cup isn’t an ICC Tournament, but why to create a separate subheading)
Performances of Virat in Asia Cups:
- Asia Cup 2010- avg-17 SR-69
- The Asia Cup 2012- avg-119 SR-102
- Asia Cup 2014- avg-63 SR-103
- Asia Cup (T20) 2016- avg- 76 SR-111
Overall in Asia Cups, Virat has scored 766 runs at an average of 64 with a SR of 100.
Virat’s IPL performances weren’t upto the mark in the starting two seasons, or as we can say first 20-25 innings.
In the initial two seasons of the IPL, he averaged around 20 with striking at a rate of around 110.
In the 2010 season, he was good, scoring 307 runs at an avg of 28 and SR of 145. Next year he was top class, scored 557 runs at an average of 46 and a SR of 141.
Though he was scoring big runs, but either he was inconsistent or scoring a tad slow.
And then came the best year of his life, i.e. 2016, and rest, they say is history.
2016- The Dream year for Virat 'The Run Machine'Kohli! pic.twitter.com/prNKpNvd44
— Aryan Kumar (@realaryankumar) November 2, 2020
In 2016 IPL season, he scored a mammoth 973 runs in a single IPL season at an average of 81 and a SR of 152, was also the man of the tournament.
He hasn’t been much of a successful captain in IPL though, he has a win% of less than 50% captaining RCB.
When a Cricketer has so big of an aura in International cricket, and is one of the biggest match winners ever, then it’s obvious that their will be criticism too.
While some of it contains constructive criticism, some of them are merely cry babies.
I don’t think I need to elaborate which areas he has been criticised, but most of the areas, he has replied it with his cricketing skills.
Last but not the least, I’ll describe his some of the best innings ever played by Virat Kohli, the birthday boy, in each format.
Some of his best innings played by him
These are one of the best innings by Virat Kohli, the birthday boy across formats in International Cricket.
Maiden Test Century in England
Virat didn’t have a good outing in the 2014 England Test Tour, averaging just 13 in 10 innings. But in 2018, in another tour down under he proved all the critics wrong.
He scored 593 runs in 10 innings at an average of 59.30 and a knock of 103*(197) was absolutely epic!. In the same match he also scored 97(152).
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 3, 2018
Removing the Knockout Woes
Many people said that Virat can’t score runs under pressure, due to the fact that he didn’t score much runs in ICC Knockout Games, but in the T20 WC 2016 Quarter Final, he scored runs and made sure that his team wins the match. He scored 82*(51) in this match and received the M.O.M award too.
#OnThisDay in 2016, Virat Kohli displayed his classic knock against Australia at Mohali. He amassed an unbeaten 82 from just 51 deliveries and steered the chase for India in that T20 World Cup encounter 👏💯#ThrowbackThursday #INDvAUS #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/wvQeZ5HyCq
— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 27, 2020
Against the Arch Rivals
Virat Kohli, the birthday boy scored 183(148) against the Arch Rivals Pakistan. This is his highest ODI score too.
[ Throwback ]
This day that year in 2012, Virat Kohli smashed 183 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup at Mirpur & India chased a total of 329 successfully. pic.twitter.com/r0sCFI2DOa
— Akash RS🇮🇳 (@ViratBomB) March 18, 2018
Amazing Adelaide Knock
(1/2) Throwback to this very special and important test in our journey as the test team that we are today. Adelaide 2014 was a game filled with emotion on both sides and an amazing one for people to watch too. Although we didn't cross the line being so close, it taught us that.. pic.twitter.com/BrgHL3ffyR
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) June 30, 2020
The Adelaide Knock was an absolute beauty, though India couldn’t win the match, but Virat’s dedication was at utmost level. He scored centuries in both the innigs, but he didn’t have much support from the other end and India eventually lost the match by 48 runs. VK scored 115(184) and 141(175) in this match.
16. Kohli scored a breathtaking 86-ball 133* v Sri Lanka in Hobart in a tri-series game in 2012
Chairman of the selection committee Kris Srikkanth made Kohli the vice-captain for the Asia Cup 2012 stating that ‘Kohli is a good future captaincy material.’#HappyBirthdayViratKohli
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) November 5, 2020
Before this innings at Hobart, Virat Kohli, the birthday boy, had already scored 10 tons in ODI cricket and was an established member in the Indian ODI setup. But his knock of 133* against Sri Lanka at Hobart made the world take notice of this young sensation who would go onto probably rule the world for probably another decade and a half. Though his match-winning knock wasn’t enough to take India to the CB series final, it opened a new chapter in the cricketing career of Kohli.
He was the Man of the Match in this game too.
Wishing Virat ‘The Run Machine’ Kohli, a very very happy 32nd birthday, and hoping that he remains healthy-wealthy as well as becomes more successful in his life.
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