Virat Kohli

Profile -
Virat Kohli
Born in Delhi, Virat Kohli shot into prominence as the Under-19 skipper, who led India to victory at the 2008 World Cup held in Malaysia. That accolade gained him instant recognition and made him an overnight teen sensation. Soon he made his ODI debut for India in Sri Lanka in August 2008 when he was thrust into the opener's role as both Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were ruled out due to injuries. He played two important knocks - 37 in the second ODI and 54 in the fourth - both of which resulted in India winning, thereby enabling them to win the series as well. After such an impressive showing, he was slightly unlucky to remain on the bench when England visited India in December 2008, as Tendulkar and Sehwag had returned and the middle-order was strong and packed.

Kohli, however, was not disappointed and he went back to the domestic scene and continued to plunder attacks playing for Delhi. When India went to Australia to compete in the 2009 Emerging Players Tournament, Kohli shone brightly as he notched up a hundred in the final against South Africa. He finished as the top run-getter in the tournament, ending up with 398 runs from seven matches which included two centuries and two fifties. Due to his tremendous batting exploits, India managed to win that tournament and a new batting star was unearthed.

The season after 2009 turned to be a proving point for both Kohli and India. He got regular chances at the No.3 slot in the ODI team and he made the position his own with a string of consistent scores. He became the first Indian to score a century on World Cup debut when he smashed a ton against Bangladesh in India's first game of the 2011 World Cup. He went on to make a few more vital contributions - including an 83-run stand with Gautam Gambhir in the final - in India's successful World Cup campaign.

Team India didn't enjoy a great year after the World Cup, but Kohli's career graph went upwards rapidly in the 2011-12 season. He made his Test debut in West Indies in July 2011, but was dropped for the England Tests that followed after he had a poor debut series. However, Kohli continued his great form in ODIs and made 194 runs from five innings including a century. His ODI success led to a Test recall for the home series against West Indies, and Kohli hasn't looked back ever since. A couple of half centuries in the final Test pushed him into the Test squad for the Australia tour which followed. Kohli failed in the first two Tests in Australia, but justified the team management's continuous support for him with a 75 in the third Test in Perth and a century - his first in Test cricket - in Adelaide. Kohli went on to make centuries against New Zealand, England and Australia when the teams visited the sub-continent in the 2012-13 season and established himself as a batting mainstay for India.

While his Test career might have had its ups and downs, his ODI graph only has one direction and that is skywards. He is the fastest Indian to score 1,000, 3,000 and 4,000 runs in ODIs and is also the fastest cricketer to score 10 ODI centuries. He was also the highest run-scorer for India in ODIs for three consecutive years - 2010, 2011 and 2012 and won the ICC ODI cricketer of the year award in 2012.

Kohli had a strong IPL season as the captain and led the Bangalore franchise to fifth position in the league table. He amassed 634 runs in 16 games, finishing as the third highest run-getter in IPL 6. Kohli was also one of the most consistent batsmen in the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2013 and finished fifth in the table of top run-scorers with 176 runs. When MS Dhoni was injured during the Zimbabwe ODI series in July 2013, Kohli was bestowed with the honour of leading the team for the remaining games. When Australia toured India in October 2013, Kohli became the fastest Indian to score a century. He achieved this feat in just 52 balls as India was successful in the second highest run chase in the history of ODI cricket. Kohli amassed 344 runs in the series at an average of 114.66 and topped the ICC Batsmen rankings. In November 2013, Kohli became the joint-fastest batsman to score 5,000 runs in ODIs when he scored 86 against West Indies in the first game in Kochi. He achieved this feat in 114 innings equaling Sir Viv Richards' record. However, the record was soon broken by South African batsman Hashim Amla, who reached the milestone in 101 innings. In the second ODI, Kohli surpassed Rohit Sharma to become the leading ODI run-scorer in 2013.

Kohli has a mature head on his rather young shoulders. Known to be quite an aggressive batsman, he has a sound technique, which makes him judge the length of the ball earlier than most others. He is equally adept against pace and spin, and never looks ungainly at the crease. With a penchant for using his feet against the spinners, he is known to be quite destructive when in the mood. Kohli has had high expectations placed on him from the moment he picked up a bat and has shown signs that he is well on the way to fulfilling those predictions.

Kohli is one of the finest fielders in an Indian side which needs more men like him to make up for the other abysmal ones. Quick on his feet and also safe with his catching, Kohli can practically field anywhere in the park. He can also roll his arm over, with some occasional medium pace and has modelled his action on Chris Harris. Kohli was made the captain of the Bangalore franchise in the Indian Premier League for the season 2013.

He proved his credentials right as a Test batsman on the tour of South Africa when he scored a sensational first innings hundred in Johannesburg in the first Test to bail India out of trouble and followed 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. When it came to the limited overs formats, no one doubted the abilities of the right-handed batsman. Although he did not manage to score big in South Africa, Kohli was back to his usual best in New Zealand and also did well in the 2014 Asia Cup. Come the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, Kohli not only stunned everyone with his array of shots, but also ended the tournament as the leading run-getter, including four fifties. It is no wonder that Bangalore decided to retain him for the 2014 IPL.

Unfortunately, Kohli lost his touch when India traveled to England in 2014 and he could score just 134 runs in 10 Test match innings. Surprisingly, his struggle with the bat continued in the ODI series that followed the Tests. However, he bounced back strongly with a fifty and a hundred in India's home ODI series against West Indies and then thrashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all corners, with two fifties and a hundred in the five-match ODI series. In the process, he also became the fastest to record 6,000 runs in ODIs.

He carried his great form into the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under, in which he smashed four hundreds in four Test matches. When Dhoni was injured for the first Test, Kohli led India in his absence and then was named India's next Test captain, after Dhoni decided to quit the Test match format after the Melbourne Test. Kohli became the first player to notch up three successive hundreds as a Test captain. He scored twin hundreds on captaincy debut in Adelaide before the ton at the SCG. He scored the most runs by any visiting Indian batsman in Australia and ended the series with 692 runs. His great show has silenced the critics, who called for his exclusion from the Test team, after the poor show in England.

Kohli started the 2015 World Cup on a bright note, his hundred against arch-rivals, Pakistan, being one of the high points of his career. He couldn't sustain his form though, the lowest point coming in the semi-final against Australia, where he was dismissed for just 1. Kohli though took disappointment in his stride as he looked into the future. Having been confirmed as India's Test captain, he became the first Indian captain to beat Sri Lanka in their own den, since 1993, securing the series by a 2-1 margin.

More success was to beckon the young Indian captain as he led a 3-0 humbling of South Africa at home. The result took India to the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings, albeit for a short period of time. Kohli continued to rise amongst the ranks, scoring runs by default, both in Tests and ODIs. He took his form to the shortest format as well, scoring three consecutive fifties, during the historic 3-0 whitewash of Australia in the T20I series.

Kohl's never ending thirst for runs carried over into the 2016 World Twenty20, he batted like a man possessed, playing crucial knocks right through the tournament. Unfortunately for him, Indian bowling failed at a crucial time during the semi-final against West Indies, leaving Kohli with only the consolation of being named as the 'Player of the tournament', for the second successive Twenty20 World Cup.

Kohli's thirst for runs didn't show signs of slowing down as he looted a record high 973 runs during the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League, the most by any batsman in the history of the tournament - as he led his Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) franchise to a runners-up finish.

While no one doubted his abilities, his rather modest Test record was something that needed to be worked on. At the end of 2015, Kohli had hundreds, but hadn't quite converted it into double tons. At the end of 2016, he had three, one each against West Indies, New Zealand and England. Kohli - the Test batsman, had finally arrived. He finished the year with 1215 runs, at a whopping average of 75.93. His Test average had passed fifty for the first time in his career.