Virat Kohli is an Indian cricketer who is currently the captain of Indian national team. Regarded by many as one of the best cricketers in the world Kohli is ranked as one of the world’s most famous athletes by ESPN and one of the most valuable athlete brands by Forbes.
He represents Delhi in First-class cricket and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Kohli made his first-class debut for Delhi in 2006. Two years later, he led India Under-19s to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. In the same year, he went on make his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at the age of 19.
It took him three more years to make his Test debut. The debut came in 2011 against West Indies and he went on to establish himself as a vital player in the Test team.
In 2012, he was appointed the vice-captain of the ODI team and was given the Test captaincy following Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Test retirement in 2014. In early 2017, he became the limited-overs captain as well after Dhoni stepped down from the position.
Virat Kohli was born on 5 November 1988 in Delhi into a Punjabi Khatri family. His father, Prem Kohli, was a criminal lawyer and his mother, Saroj Kohli, is a housewife. Kohli has two siblings – elder brother, Vikash, and an elder sister, Bhavna.
Kohli did his schooling at Vishal Bharti Public School. In 1998, the West Delhi Cricket Academy was inaugurated and a nine-year old Kohli became a part of its first intake. He did his initial training at the academy under Rajkumar Sharma.
Kohli suffered a huge setback at the start of his professional career when his father died in 2006.
Early and domestic career:
Kohli first played for Delhi in the U-15 category in 2002 in the 2002–03 Polly Umrigar Trophy. He finished the tournament as the leading run-scorer, amassing 172 runs at an average of 34.40.
He led the team in the 2003–04 Polly Umrigar Trophy and scored a staggering 390 runs in 5 innings at an average of 78 including two centuries and two fifties. In the following year, he was selected in the Delhi Under-17 team for the 2003–04 Vijay Merchant Trophy.
He scored 470 runs in four matches at an average of 117.50 with two hundreds and top-score of 251*. In February 2006, he made his List A debut for Delhi against Services. In the same year, he was selected in the India Under-19 squad for the tour of England.
He made his first-class debut for Delhi against Tamil Nadu in November 2006, at the age of 18, and scored 10 in his debut innings. A month later, he was all over the news after deciding to play for his team against Karnataka on the day after his father’s death. He had gone on to score 90 in that innings.
In April 2007, he made his Twenty20 debut and finished as the highest run-scorer for his team in the Inter-State T20 Championship with 179 runs at an average of 35.80.
In 2008, he led India to the title in 2008 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. He had scored 235 runs in 6 matches at an average of 47 and finished as the tournament’s third-highest run-scorer and one of the only three batsmen to score a hundred in the tournament.
After the Under-19 World Cup triumph, Kohli was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League for $30,000 on a youth contract.
In August 2008, he made his international debut at the age of 19 against Sri Lanka and scored 12. He had scores of 37, 25, 54 and 31 in the other four games as India won the series 3–2. However, Kohli could not cement place in the national team due to the established and formidable pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
But Kohli was not bogged down by the setbacks and kept on piling runs for Delhi. In 2009, he traveled to Australia for the Emerging players tournament and went on to make a big impression. His century in the final against South Africa helped India win the series. Kohli ended the tournament with a staggering 398 runs from 7 outings with two centuries and two fifties.
After being given an extended run in the national team, he scored his maiden ODI hundred in an impressive run-chase against Sri Lanka in December 2009. He was also crucial in India’s triumph in the 2011 World Cup. It was only after the World Cup, he started making big strides in international cricket.
Three years after his ODI debut, he was given his Test cap during the 2011 tour of West Indies. Kohli’s foray into Test cricket was a modest one before he toured Australia towards the end of that very year. He flopped in the first two Tests but the selectors persisted with him.
He had gone on to justify the decision with a breathtaking innings on a tough Perth wicket, scoring 75. The innings made it clear that Kohli has the game to do well on all kind of tracks. He then went on to score a century in the final Test of the series which was India’s only century of a disastrous tour.
Amidst marking his arrival in Test cricket, Kohli was taking limited-overs cricket by storm. He holds the Indian record for the fastest to multiples-of-thousand runs in ODIs and currently hold the world record for the fastest to 9000 runs in ODIs. He was also the highest run-scorer for India in ODIs for three consecutive calendar years – 2010, 2011 and 2012 and won the ICC ODI cricketer of the year award in 2012.
The breakthrough innings:
Many consider Kohli’s masterclass against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Bank triangular series at Hobart as the turning point of his career. It was a power-hitting of highest quality which probably marked the arrival of King Kohli.
With India needing an improbable 321 off 40 overs to stay alive in the tournament, Kohli rose to the occasion and tore apart the Sri Lankan attack, slamming 133 not out of just 86 balls. India had chased down the total with more than 2 overs to spare.
The knock perhaps started the legacy which is getting stronger and stronger with every passing day.
Overseas performances in Tests:
From time immemorial, the batsmen are rated primarily after their performance in away Test series ans Kohli was not an exception either. The future captain had won over every heart with his performance on the tour of South Africa in 2014 when he scored a sensational first innings hundred in Johannesburg in the first Test to bail India out of trouble and backed it up with a 96 in the second innings. He continued his good form in New Zealand as well and ended the tour on a high with an unbeaten century.
Kohli first had a taste of captaincy in Test cricket during the tour of Australia in 2014 when regular skipper MS Dhoni missed the first Test due to an injury. Kohli was named stand-in captain for the first Test at Adelaide and he did not take long to prove his mettle.
He scored two monumental centuries in the game to prove his detractors wrong who were sceptical of his performance in Australia following his England disaster. His second innings masterclass of 141 almost pulled off a stunning run-chase on the fifth day. He had gone on to score a staggering four hundreds on the tour. On that very tour, Dhoni had announced his retirement from Tests and Kohli was named as his successor.
In his first Test series as full-time skipper, Kohli led India to a remarkable and historic 2-1 series win over Sri Lanka. His track record as captain only became better and better with every passing series. He led India to a 3-0 win South African which saw the team taking the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings for the first time since they forfeited it to England after the forgettable white-wash in 2011.
He led India to nine consecutive Test series wins which came to an end with the 2-1 defeat to South Africa in 2018.
IPL and T20 exploits:
Kohli’s domination continued in the shortest format of the game too. He won the Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016). In 2014, he became the top-ranked T20I batsman in the ICC rankings, holding the position for three successive years till 2017.
His performance in the IPL is equally impressive which reached its zenith in in 2016 when he scored an inhuman 973 runs with the help of a scarcely believable four centuries. The tally is by the most by any batsman in the history of the tournament.
Awards and recognition:
Kohli’s awards tally is as impressive as batting statistics. He was named the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 2016 and ICC World Cricketer of the Year in 2017. He bagged the ICC ODI Player of the Year twice – 2012 and 2017. He was also named the BCCI’s International Cricketer of the Year for the 2011–12, 2014–15 and 2015-16 seasons.
In 2013, he was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award in recognition of his achievements in international cricket. In 2017, the Padma Shri was conferred upon him.
Records and milestones:
- Fastest century by an Indian cricketer in ODIs (in 52 balls).
- Fastest Indian to reach 1,000 runs in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and third fastest in the world to reach 5,000 runs in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and second fastest in the world to reach 6,000 runs in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and second fastest in the world to reach 7,000 runs in ODIs.
- Fastest player to reach 8,000 runs in ODIs.
- Fastest player to reach 9,000 runs in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and second fastest in the world to reach 10 centuries in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and second fastest in the world to reach 15 centuries in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and second fastest in the world to reach 20 centuries in ODIs.
- Fastest Indian and second fastest in the world to reach 25 centuries in ODIs.
- Fastest in the world to reach 30 centuries in ODIs.
- Fastest in the world to reach 35 centuries in ODIs.
- Fastest in the world to reach 1,000 runs in T20Is.
- Fastest in the world to reach 15,000 international runs
- Joint fastest batsman with Hashim Amla to reach 50 centuries across all forms of international cricket (348 innings).
- Highest historic rating points by an Indian batsman in ODIs (909 points), achieved on February 2018, and T20Is (897 points), achieved on September, 2014, in ICC rankings.
- First batsman to score 500 runs in a bilateral ODI series.
- Most consecutive Test series win (9) as a captain from 2015–2017.
- First cricketer to score three centuries in his first three innings as Test captain.
- Second Test after Greg Chappell to score centuries in his first two Test innings.
- First Indian Test captain to score a double century overseas.
- First Indian Test captain to score two or more double centuries. Currently he has scored six double centuries.
- Fastest captain to score 1000 ODI runs.
- First ever batsman to score double centuries in four consecutive series in Tests.
- Fastest captain to score 2000 ODI runs.
- First captain to score 10 international hundreds in a calendar year.
- Most Test centuries as a captain of India (12).
- Most double centuries by a captain in Test cricket (6).
- Most centuries (11) by a captain in a calendar year. He achieved the feat in 2017.
- Most ODI centuries as a captain of India (13)