India’s Virat Kohli, the No 1-ranked batsman in ODI and Test cricket, reflects on his 10 years on the international stage.
Kohli has been in exceptional form. Recently, he made history by becoming the fastest player to 10,000 runs after his century against the West Indies on Tuesday. He became the 13th player to reach the milestone – taking 205 innings to get there miles ahead of now-second Sachin Tendulkar (259 innings).
‘Even after playing for 10 years, I don’t feel like I’m entitled to anything here,’ Kohli shared with BCCI.tv.
‘You still have to work hard for every run you score at the international level while playing for your country because there are many people who want this very badly and when you’re in that position yourself, you should have that same hunger and passion. You should never take things for granted, never take it easy at any stage.’
Kohli has been at the peak of his game since making his debut in 2008 in an ODI against Sri Lanka. After successfully captaining the Indian U19 team to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup earlier in that year, a lot of expectation was placed on him when he joined the senior set-up and he did not disappoint.
A decade later, and at the helm of the Indian national team, his intensity and passion for both the game and the national team has only grown stronger and is evident whenever one watches India’s new maestro on the field.
‘To understand you’ve come so far in your career playing for 10 years is something quite special to me because I love the sport so much and you want to play it more and more, and that for me is the most important thing, so I’m just happy that I’m able to play for this long and hopefully many more years to come,’ Kohli added.
‘I never thought I could achieve this feat or I would get to this stage. I always thought I just want to play for India, I never thought that this day would arrive and it just tells me that if you’re focused on the process and the right things then these things become irrelevant after a while.’
His performances throughout have impressed many ex-professionals who have compared him to some of the greatest players in cricket history.
‘I’ve been able to push my physical abilities and my mental abilities on just focusing on what the team needs, and in that process more runs have been scored than maybe I would have otherwise if I was thinking about my own batting or anything like that,’ Kohli added.
‘So I’ve just focused on the situation, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to help the team by contributing with the bat. My duty is to score runs and having done that for a long period now, everything has collected together for this moment but the intention always should be every game, every situation to look for what the team needs and just score as many runs as possible.’
Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images