Virat Kohli kisses the turf at Antigua, where he reached his maiden double-hundred in cricket    AFP
Virat Kohli kisses the turf at Antigua, where he reached his maiden double-hundred in cricket AFP

Hashtag Virat Kohli is trending in India. It is not something new. It happens time and again whenever a born-to-be Indian cricketer, with an undaunted attitude, does something that doesn t surprise anyone but does what was inevitable for him to do. He can score a hundred on a tough pitch. He can win his team a game single-handedly with his genius. He can smash the best of bowlers with the utmost ease. He can also play utopian cricket shots, like he did when he made his maiden double-hundred in Test cricket, becoming the first Indian captain to do so overseas. West Indies were on the receiving end, but what is easily notable is that, the opposition might change, Kohli doesn t. He will eventually get them. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs West Indies 2016, 1st Test at Antigua

When Kohli arrived at the crease on Day 1 of the first Test at Antigua, India were 74-2. Cheteshwar Pujara had just thrown away his wicket after getting a leading edge to hand the simplest of catches. But Shikhar Dhawan was going well, trying to make his mark and seal his place in the side. The pitch was tricky at start but yes, as the match progressed, batting got easier. Having said that, runs still had to be scored.

But come third session on Day 2, India eventually declared at 566-8. Kohli, played a gem of an innings. He scored 200, hitting 24 boundaries in it. Only? The outfield was not the quickest and it means more than hundred runs were scored running. Isn’t that special?

There are numerous reasons why Kohli s innings at Antigua was special. Not just because it was his first double-hundred. But for plenty of other reasons.

Like Kohli has, as always, played the ball on merit, he did just that in this Test. While he was on 8, Jason Holder, bowled a ball outside off, almost on the 5th stump line, a fullish ball, but all Kohli did was to caress the ball and guide it to the boundary ropes. He could have hit the ball. He didn t. He had switched on the Test mode.

Runs soon started coming easily for him and he found boundaries every now and then. He soon reached his fifty with a four. But a bigger, much bigger milestone was waiting. A couple of personal records were to be broken. But was he really thinking about it? Only he can tell.

Just before the tea break, however, Kohli lost his partner, Dhawan for a well made 84. Dhawan missed out on a hundred, but Kohli was not going to.

Ajinkya Rahane then joined him. Kohli was still playing strokes on merit. He meted out the apt treatment that every ball deserved. He almost while playing the shot, in his mind, knows, that this ball is meant for a double, or this poor delivery must be sent to the boundary, I m on it . He is like a doctor who knows that this particular ailment needs this therapy.

He played some exquisite cover drives. When he leaned forward to play a shot, he looked magnificent. When he stayed on the back foot, he was solid. And even when he left the ball, there was a purpose behind it.

But when on 99, Kohli lost Rahane at the other end. Again, a soft dismissal, but the partnership was broken. What was Kohli doing differently? Like Viv Richards said, “the will” sets him apart. After Rahane, came out Ravichandran Ashwin, a surprising decision.

In the next over, Kohli glanced Carlos Brathwaite s delivery down the leg-side for a single, and reached his 12th hundred in Test cricket. He raised his helmet and bat, but knew more work was to be done. He carried on.

He again timed, pulled, guided, glanced, cut, flicked and progressed while piercing gaps in the field. The West Indies bowlers looked tired, worn out and that meant things were getting more easier for the Indian skipper.

Virat Kohli looking upto the heavens after reaching his personal milestone, his first 200    AFP
Virat Kohli looking at the heavens after reaching his personal milestone, his first 200 AFP

On Day 2, Kohli and Ashwin were resilient. Apart from that one Ashwin nick that was dropped by Shane Dowrich, there were no chances presented. On the first day, Kohli had already crossed the 3,000-run mark in Test cricket and many more miletones were passed on the second. When he crossed 169, he passed his previous highest score in Tests. He did take his time in the 190s but Kohli was in line to get there. If there is a word like Unoutable’ in cricket’s dictionary, (There isn t) Kohli, was in that mode.

There was at this time exactly, in a different part of the world, Old Trafford in Manchester, another talented batsman of this era, nearing his hundred. England s Joe Root had played fantastically well to put his team in the driver s seat against Pakistan. Even the most genuine of cricket fans would have been confused at that moment as to switch the TV channel or not. But Kohli, might not have let the Indians touch the remote.

And as Roston Chase bowled a slightly short delivery, Kohli got there. India s coach Anil Kumble, on his first assignment, probably didn t want to miss out the picture, so he took a snap from the dressing room right then. The others applauded. Kohli completed the run. And then, just then, the cameraman showed a glimpse of India s legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar applauding slowly. Gavaskar had seen Sachin Tendulkar. Now he was witnessing another legend in the making.

Kohli then bent down on his knees and kissed the turf at Antigua. And well, at that moment the whole of India would have been like, Oh Kohli, why are you so awesome? . But a look at the heavens and up for the next task, was perhaps what Kohli s body language was pointing out.

A 300 for him was definitely possible as India went into the lunch interval. But Shannon Gabriel s first over after lunch, Kohli chopped one back on to his stumps. There was no other way apart from a run-out that Kohli could have gone back. He walked dejected. Nothing new, but he just like others thought he had missed out on a triple century. By just 100 runs.

The above video shows Kohli’s innings of 200 against West Indies.

(Karan Dewan, a reporter with CricketCountry, loves following and playing sports. He is a Team India fan and loves winning. Follow him on his twitter handle @karan13dewan)