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Virat Kohli, born on November 5, 1988, is India’s modern mainstay. Since his international debut in 2008, Kohli has established himself as one of the best batsmen in international cricket. Though his Test career is still budding, he is already amongst the best batsmen in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). On his birthday, Nishad Pai Vaidya lists 10 facts about India’s dashing batsman.

1. Kohli started playing cricket at the age of eight under the tutelage of coach Rajkumar Sharma. In 1996-97, Rajkumar Sharma started his academy and Kohli was amongst the first 200 students. In an interview with CricketCountry, Rajkumar said, “Within a week, Virat’s uninhibited enthusiasm and towering talent won me over. I was completely convinced that he’s a special talent. He was mighty inquisitive and would ask me deluge of questions. His eagerness to learn the nuances of every aspect of the game impressed me thoroughly.”

2. On December 19, 2006, Kohli lost his father Prem early in the morning. Despite that, he turned up for Delhi that day for a Ranji Trophy game against Karnataka. He had finished the previous day, unbeaten on 40 and returned to score 90, which was his first fifty in senior representative cricket. Kohli then attended his father’s funeral after he was dismissed. This was an early sign of his character and temperament.

Virat Kohli poses with his ICC Player of The Year award © Getty Images
Virat Kohli poses with his ICC Player of The Year award © Getty Images

3. Kohli is the youngest player to win the ICC One-Day International Player of the Year Award. He won the award in 2012 when he was only 23 years old.

4. Sachin Tendulkar has always been Kohli’s favourite player. Tendulkar had called Kohli to congratulate him on winning the ICC under-19 World Cup 2008. Coach Rajkumar says, “It was the first time, he was talking to him, and the kind words from Tendulkar sent him into the raptures. He couldn’t speak for first two minutes but later he was jubilant.” After India won the World Cup 2011, Kohli’s reverence for Tendulkar was evident when he said, “He’s carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It’s time we carried him on our shoulders.”

5. Kohli was at the other end during Tendulkar’s last ODI innings. Playing Pakistan at the Asia Cup 2012 in Dhaka, Kohli and Tendulkar had a 133-run partnership that helped India recover in their run-chase of 330. Tendulkar was dismissed for 52, whereas Kohli went on to score 183 in the match-winning cause. Interestingly, Kohli was the batsman who replaced Tendulkar after he was dismissed during his final Test innings against West Indies in Mumbai. As Tendulkar waved good bye, Kohli waited at the boundary and applauded him before entering the field of play.

6. Kohli is the fastest to score 1000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and 7000 ODI runs for India. Currently, Kohli is on 7570 runs in 168 innings. He is thus poised to break AB de Villiers’ record of being the fastest ever to 8000 ODI runs. The South African took 182 innings to get to the mark.

7. At present, Kohli has scored 14 out of his 26 ODI tons in successful run-chases. He is thus levelled with Tendulkar, who scored 14 out of his 49 ODI tons in victorious pursuits. It is interesting to note that Kohli’s first 11 tons in run-chases resulted in victories. It was only in 2014 that he scored a ton when India failed to overhaul a score.

Virat Kohli celebrates his fastest ODI ton for India © IANS
Virat Kohli celebrates his fastest ODI ton for India © IANS

 

8. Kohli has scored the fastest ODI ton for India. Chasing 360 to win in an ODI against Australia in Jaipur, Kohli smashed a ton off only 52 balls. It broke Virender Sehwag’s record, who had achieved the milestone off 60 balls against New Zealand in 2009. Kohli also has the third-fastest ODI ton for India. He achieved it against Australia off 61 balls in Nagpur in 2013.

9. Kohli is a part-time bowler at best. He has only eight international wickets to his name. Interestingly, he took a wicket off his zeroeth ball in T20 Internationals. During a T20I against England in Manchester in 2011, Kohli bowled a wide down leg and the batsman Kevin Pietersen was stumped. It was Kohli’s first delivery in T20Is as he hadn’t been summoned to the crease in his four previous matches.

10. Kohli is the fastest to score 20 ODI tons. At present, he is behind only Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Sanath Jayasuriya and comfortably ahead of other active players in the list for the most centuries in ODIs.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)