Legendary Indian cricketer Virat Kohli has completed 11 glorious in Test cricket today! It was the 20th of June in 2011 when the Delhi boy made his Test debut against West Indies. There have been a lot of ups and a few downs since but Kohli has come a come way.
The 33-year-old is arguably the best batter of this generation, if not one of the best of all time. He redefined Test cricket and made people fall in love with the red-ball format. But in those 11 years, Kohli hasn’t just raised his batsmanship but he’s become a leader, a man who sets very high standards for himself on and off the field as well.
1. Defending Steve Smith
Australian player Steve Smith had joined back in the Australian side after a year’s suspension for ball-tampering, provoking heckling from the crowds. He was being booed by Indian fans during a World Cup match, when Kohli, who was batting walked toward the Indian crowd and motioned for them to applaud instead of booing him.
2. Blasting trolls against Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami faced abuse on social media following India’s T20 World Cup cricket defeat against Pakistan. In response, Kohli blasted the critics as “spineless” and “pathetic”, reserving particular vitriol for the trolls who blamed Shami.
3. Rallying support for the Indian Football Team and Sunil Chhetri
In a video posted on Twitter, Chhetri requested those who are not fans or have lost hope to come and watch them play in stadiums, even if they want to criticize as this is an important time for Indian football. Kohli also posted a video calling for support if they want to see India as a sporting nation.
Chhetri’s request and Kohli’s support improved the football team’s morale and filled up the stadium.
4. Always taking the blame for a loss
Virat Kohli had a zero-tolerance policy towards the blame game. His defending of Indian bowlers after India’s 10-wicket loss to Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opener bears testament to it. While addressing a press conference ahead of India’s next Super 12 clash against New Zealand in Dubai, Kohli, when asked to assess Bhuvaneshvar Kumar’s performance, the Indian skipper plainly refused to single anyone out.
We lost as a team and that’s exactly what we believe in and that exactly was the case in the previous game.
5. Standing up for Rohit Sharma at press conferences
Kohli was talking to the media after the 10-wicket loss that ended his side’s 12-match winning streak against Pakistan. He could not believe his ears when asked whether Rohit Sharma could be dropped for his failure in the match and replaced by Ishan Kishan. He shook his head furiously before describing it as “unbelievable”.
I played the team that I thought was the best, what is your opinion? I am just asking you? Will you drop Rohit Sharma from T20 internationals? You will drop Rohit Sharma? You know what he did in the last game we played? Unbelievable!
6. Praising Shaheen Shah’s first spell
Virat Kohli has never shied away from keeping competition and sports on the field. However, he has been humble both in victory and in loss. He celebrated Pakistan’s young fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who rocked the Indian top-order by getting the wickets of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and later skipper Kohli himself in his second spell.
7. Kohli defending Dhoni at all costs.
MS Dhoni reached the landmark of 10,000 runs in the ODIs. However, Indian fans at the Lord’s booed former Indian skipper for his slow batting during the team’s 86-run defeat against England in the second game of the three-match series. Before the start of the 46th over, the crowd got restless when Dhoni failed to score off the first four balls. In response, there was booing after every dot ball.
When asked about Dhoni, he said
These things always come up whenever he isn’t able to play the way he wants.” “People just wait to jump on him. When it works, they call him the best finisher and if it doesn’t, they jump on him. Today was a bad day for all of us, not just him. He is experienced and the idea was to take it deep as you don’t want to lose by 150-160 runs.”
8. In defence of Yuvraj Singh
Indian batsman Virat Kohli in 2014, termed the criticism towards Yuvraj Singh’s performance against Bangladesh as “unfair”.
“Yuvraj got criticism recently, it’s unfair. He has won us two World Cups (2007 T20 and 2011 50-over), he’s a proven match-winner and it’s important to back a player like him,” Kohli said.
9. Kohli standing up to misogynists
Virat Kohli stood up for then-girlfriend Anushka Sharma against trolls on Twitter. She has been at the brunt of misogynistic trolling on the cricketer’s performance. He shared the tweet with a picture of the word “SHAME” back in March, right after India reached the semi-finals of the World T20 championship.
These have been a glorious 11 years. Here’s to 11 more!