From a thunderous fist pump to blowing the kiss of love: three amazing chapters of Virat Kohli’s Test career
“They don’t make it any more like the King”. “A King never dies”. “The King’s reign has just begun”. Well, no matter how many maxims we put, it would surely not be enough to encapsulate the true essence of greatness that Virat Kohli has stitched over the span of his glorious Test career. From one milestone to another, from one crowning moment to another, from one fleeting glimpse of almost unachievable success to the next feather in the cap, the King has weaved an entire universe of legends that would probably need more than a bard to put in the paper.
It was on this very day that Virat Kohli made his international Test debut against West Indies in a setting far from home as Kingston played the modest host to what was about to be a grand coronation of one of the most iconic visages of cricket. 2011 was just a start for the King and while he struggled to get those drives right, there was a monster in him, always famished for more. There was hope on the horizon and eyes as hungry as the lion, willing to pounce on everything that came at him.
With time, he would build an empire so strong that no matter the circumstances, the fort would remain and it would remain blazed with the most beautiful chandeliers that cricket could provide. As we speak of the citadel that still holds strong despite battering hail stones, lashing rains, and devastating tornadoes, here are three chapters of this incredible folk tale that was handwritten by the King himself with a quilt built from the willow and mettle forged from metals unknown.
· 116 vs Australia, Adelaide, 2012
Not always do the heroes get to win despite the most resolute efforts because the storms at times seem to be extremely catastrophic and no matter how strong you are, in front of the elemental forces of nature, you are just a brick in the wall. The Australian cricket team may have shied from its majestic grace in recent days but 2012 still used to be a year where they were deemed as the boogeymen of cricket and no matter the opposition, they would be ripped to shreds. India was facing Australia in the glittering Adelaide, a ground that has presented the Indian Tigers with glory and shame alike. Batting first, Australia posted a momentous total of 604 on the cards as a couple of double hundreds from Punter and Clarke helped them to set the tone. With such a ginormous total to bat against, India started wobbling early in the innings as they lost five early wickets with all the batters barely able to face the heat of the mighty Australians. It was then a highly talked-about youngster who would take over the reins of the game in his own hand and when the Australians would scare him with one thunderbolt after the other, he would respond with one perfect cricketing stroke after the other. Seeing him bat in front of a starry bowling lineup with the confidence of a poem gliding through the pages was probably the first realization of a hero being born. A hero who would usher India to the brightest of sunrises from a dampening night. That was the first Test century for a rebel called Virat Kohli and would be the first of many more to come.
· 169 and 54 vs Australia, Melbourne, 2014
This was one series that would witness the King at his majestic divinity as he would take the Australian bowlers by storm and beat them to a pulp under the glaring sun and an angry crowd who would go from screaming the loudest of cuss words to being zipped up. Batting first, Australia would pile up a staggering 530 on the cards as Steven Smith played a brilliant knock of 192 that would leave the Indians scrambling for shelter as their ship ran aground in a shore teeming with the Australian menaces. Teetering at 147 for 3, Virat would make this battle personal and would start taking the fight to the mighty Australians who would eventually be frustrated by their inability to remove the king. From a fist pump in the air to a kiss blown at the fiery Johnson, Virat Kohli was a man possessed. He would smash 169 incredible runs in which there were just 18 boundaries and the rest would be him treading the pitch faster than a lightning bolt. If the knock in the first innings was just an ode to his unparalleled glory, the rescuing act of 54 in the second was another reason why he was touted as someone who would be extremely special and his legacy is just a burning sensation to his continuum of brilliance.
· 115 and 141 vs Australia, Sydney, 2014
From India’s very inception in Test cricket to the first half of the 2020s, it was pretty rare that India would dare to look at the opponent in their eye on the road and would eventually end up cowering in the face of mighty pressure or would run for their lives, hoping to share the spoils at the end of the day. It was Virat Kohli who dared to look at the opponent in their eye and what followed was Australia running for their lives only for them to get lucky in the end as the Indian ship crumbled ahead of the shore. Batting first, Australia would amass 517 runs before the Indian openers can show promise. However, unlike the other games, the Indian batters seemed in good touch and would try and put some vital runs on the cards before the middle-order stepped in. With fragmented help from the others, Virat Kohli would chime in with an excellent 115 in the first innings that would allow India to rack up 444. Australia had a healthy lead on the cards and with David Warner in full swing, the hosts would set India a target of 364. Despite the early fall of Dhawan and Pujara, Kohli would steer the ship alongside Murali Vijay and would continue to do so even after the latter fell. With barely any help from the non-striker’s end, he would help India come in close vicinity to the winning total that would serve as another tocsin to the world that the King has arrived. He would finally be foxed by Nathan Lyon for a staggering 141, a knock that would stay etched in the cricketing museum of time.