Kohli can be the G.O.A.T and even Sachin would agree to it. | Credit: BCCIOct 26, 2018
At the pace Virat Kohli ends his milestone-laden, stunning international career, his 157-unbeaten knock at Visakhapatnam would turn out to be just a footnote in the scheme of things. Though West Indies are not the mighty bunch as they used to be in the 1970s and 1980s, yet, for Kohli and his fans in the stadium, it’s going to take many beautiful knocks to forget this in a hurry.
It was during his innings against the West Indies that he raced past Sachin Tendulkar’s fastest to reach 10k runs in one-day international cricket. Kohli was 881 at the crease then. He has taken just 205 innings, against Tendulkar’s 259 innings.
But Kohli, himself, an ardent fan of Tendulkar, doesn’t like these comparisons. As he has adequately made it clear on innumerable occasions in the past, adding that it was Tendulkar’s dominance and aura that inspired him to pick up a bat in Delhi neighbourhood all those years ago. As to the little maestro himself, he would be content with the knowledge that the record has been broken by a worthy successor.
He tweeted soon after his milestone was beaten: “The intensity and consistency with which you [Kohli] bat is just amazing. @Vkohli, congratulations on achieving 10,000 runs...” – Sachin Tendulkar
The moment itself was reached in a nondescript fashion, with a soft nudge to long-on off Ashley Nurse. MS Dhoni was there at the other end as the two hugged each other and shared a wide grin. Kohli’s flaring temper during his initial days were kept in check by the then captain Dhoni. And it was fitting that Dhoni was at the other end to cherish the feat.
Virat Kohli, the new master and leading run machine in international cricket in all the three formats, is a vastly different cricketer now, the evidence which can be witnessed in the way he celebrated reaching the milestone. A younger Kohli would have never let an opportunity slip to pump his fists and mouth the expletives on such an occasion. These days, he treats reaching 50s, 100s and any other milestone as if it’s just another day like and like it’s a job.
As much as what makes him a run-scoring colossus especially in one-day 50 over cricket, the template to his innings yesterday was a good indicator. Given his uncanny ability to keep his scorecard ticking without taking undue risks, he largely inches on singles and twos, while playing along the ground to start with. Once he got past the beginning stage at the crease, it was almost impossible to dislodge him from the pitch. Later on, when he was going for the big shots as the innings drew to a close, they were still orthodox strokes in the V style.
Now that the young 29-year-old cricketer has achieved this milestone, the next major record in his sights is Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of surpassing 49 one-day international centuries. While scoring yet another 13 centuries will still take a significant effort, one can’t help but admit it’s only a matter of time.
Not to mention, he is also the captain of a team which carries the highest expectation and viewership among cricket playing nations. While Sachin did not flourish under his own captaincy while playing for a team which dwarfs in skills and talents to the present team’s lineup, it would not be unfair to laud and cherish Kohli’s feat more. As the intensity of the game and competitive nature of the sport has reached new heights, be it in any format of the game. Virat Kohli is reaching corners unchallenged with a widening gap between him and the rest of the cricketers.