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The Virat Era

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Virat_Kohli_India_CricketThe series between India and West Indies was more or less evenly poised when Windies managed to upset the visitors in Antigua before heading into the fifth and final ODI which was played at the Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, on Thursday. Many Indian fans back in India slept with a hope that the result would be in their favor when they got up next morning. 

Their prayers were answered, as India’s triumph was led by none other than skipper Virat Kohli, in golden form, who played a  knock of 111*, which demolished the home team and helped India clinch the series 3-1. 

For a player like Kohli, who is so used to scoring a hundred in almost every series or tournament he plays, this series was a minor disappointment for him; it was also a bit disappointing for his fans, who haven’t seen Virat score a hundred since well before the Champions Trophy. It was expected that the volcano would erupt and erupt most ferociously. This is what the Windies’ bowlers experienced the other day at Sabina Park, which seemed like KOHLI’S Park, when he was thrashing them all over the place. 

Kohli has always loved to hit tons. Nowadays, he has hit so many tons that scoring a century has become just another thing, like popping peanuts to him. But it was worth watching Kohli jumping in the air and pumping his fists after scoring his century. This reminded us of the old Virat Kohli who used to celebrate in this trademark style - his elegant flick then a big roar with arms going up in the air. This was like an announcement that the good old, in form Kohli is back. It ended up putting a smile on everyone’s face in the ground. Well, maybe not the local Windies fans.

With the victory, many records came tumbling into the lap of Virat Kohli. While it was yet another series win for team India in the Caribbean, Kohli’s extraordinary run with the bat continued as he smashed his 28th ODI hundred, which was also his 18th in a chase. Kohli now has the record for most hundreds in a chase with 18, having surpassed Sachin Tendulkar, who held the record with 17. It took 232 innings for Tendulkar to get there while Kohli reached there in just 102 innings. Kohli (9) is also ahead of Tendulkar (8) when it comes to most times not out in chases while scoring a century.

The 111 not out in his 181st innings helped Kohli to equal Sanath Jayasuriya’s tally of 28 centuries. Now he only trails Ricky Ponting by two tons while Tendulkar sits at the top of the tree with 49 centuries. Kohli is now ahead of South Africa’s Hashim Amla (25), Kumar Sangakkara (25) of Sri Lanka and AB de Villiers (24) in the list players with the most ODI centuries.

After the match, Kohli spoke about his performance, repeating his plan for chasing a target and said,

 

You mentioned, two failures in the last 2 games, for me it is all about getting the team across the line. I never look at stats and numbers. For me it is all about looking at the scoreboard and focus on what I need to achieve. Which bowlers to target and when we need to give respect to the bowlers. Even if it is a big total or small total I like playing with the tempo of the game.

 

On a larger scale, this was India’s seventh consecutive series win in a bilateral series against West Indies. They have won every ODI series against them, home and away, since January 2007. 

When it comes to captaincy, Kohli has won 75.86 percent of his ODIs as captain – 22 wins, seven losses and one no-result out of 30 contested. Among the Indian captains with at least seven matches, his success percentage is the highest.

With such records and performances, it seems safe to say that Virat Kohli is indeed the Brand Ambassador of success. As records are meant to be broken, and considering the current golden form of Kohli, it does not seem to be unrealistic to say that we are now heading into “Virat Era.”

 

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Yatin Singh is a graduate of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, studied B.A (H) Journalism. Yatin,...

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