Virat Kohli Completes 15 Years In International Cricket. A Look Back At The Journey

It was on this day in 2008 that Virat Kohli had made his India debut.

On this day in 2008, young Virat Kohli first entered the international arena, making his debut against Sri Lanka in an ODI match. Just a few months prior to the Sri Lanka series, Virat had just etched his name in history books by leading India to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup trophy and just like a lot of U19 captains in the past, had made a strong case for donning the Indian cap in future, scoring 235 runs in six matches at an average of 47.00, with one century against West Indies in group stages.

Virat along with fellow Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir opened the batting against Sri Lanka and could score just 12 runs. The youngster ended his first series with decent numbers, scoring 159 runs in five matches at an average of 31.80, getting his first fifty in the fifth ODI. While many knew that Virat was destined for international success based on his talent and U19 success, the level of success he would go on to achieve in years to come was just unbelievable even for his die-hard followers.

Year by year, Kohli presented himself as the epitome of consistency across all formats, becoming the part of modern-day ‘Fab Four’ batting quartet along with Steve Smith from Australia, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and England’s Joe Root.

Since then, Kohli has represented India in 111 Tests. After making his Test debut in 2011 against West Indies, he overcame the horrors of his first tour, in which he could score just 76 runs in five innings to establish himself as one of the biggest ambassadors of red-ball cricket. He has scored 8,676 runs at an average of 49.29 in 187 innings, with 29 centuries and 29 fifties and the best score of 254*.

He is the fifth-highest scorer in Test cricket for India and 23rd overall, chasing the all-time tally of Indian great Sachin Tendulkar (15,921 runs in 200 matches and 51 centuries). He also has the fourth-highest centuries in Tests among Indians. Virat also has seven double hundreds, the most by an Indian player.

As a captain, Virat Kohli made a brilliant legacy for himself in Tests. He led India in 68 Tests, winning 40, losing 17 and drawing 11. This translates to a win percentage of 58.82 per cent. Making India into a formidable home unit, helping them clinch a memorable Test match/series win in England, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia and West Indies, establishing a world-class pace bowling unit consisting of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj etc., are some of the big positives of his tenure as a skipper, which saw him lead India to five successive ICC World Test Championship maces from 2017-21.

Virat’s strongest format is ODIs. In 275 ODIs, he has scored 12,898 runs at an average of 57.32. He has scored 46 centuries and 65 half-centuries in 265 innings, with the best score of 183.

He is India’s second-highest ODI run-getter behind Sachin (18,426 runs in 463 matches with 49 centuries) and overall fifth. Virat also has the second-highest number of ODI centuries and is chasing a half-century of ODI tons. Among ODI players with atleast 150 matches, he has the highest average, which speaks volumes about his consistency and the prize he puts on his wicket.

He is the third-fastest to 5,000 ODI runs, second-fastest to 6,000 and 7,000 ODI runs and fastest to score 8,000, 9,000, 10,000, 11,000, and 12,000 ODI runs.

Virat boasts of a solid record as ODI captain. He has led the team in 95 matches, winning 65, losing 27, tying one and two ending in no result, which translates to a win percentage of 68.42.

He is part of the team which won the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, reached the semifinals of the 2015 and 2019 Cricket World Cups and final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

In 26 WC matches, he has scored 1,030 runs at an average of 46.81 in 26 innings. He has scored two centuries and six fifties, with the best score of 107. He has also played 13 ICC CT matches, scoring 529 runs at an average of 88.16, with five half-centuries in 12 innings. However, his inconsistent record in knockout matches has earned him criticism.

In an age where the T20 format values attacking batting, Virat has perfectly mixed conservatism and situation-based attacking to become a T20I giant as well. In 115 T20Is, he has scored 4,008 runs at an average of 52.73 and a strike rate of 137.96. He has scored one century and 37 half-centuries, with the best score of 122*.

He has the highest amount of runs, fifty-plus scores and average in T20I cricket history. Virat also has the most ‘Man of the Match’ (15) and ‘Man of the Series’ (seven) awards in T20Is.

Virat is an all-time great ICC T20 World Cup player. With 1,141 runs in 27 matches and 25 innings in the tournament at an average of 81.50, a strike rate of 131.30 and 14 fifties, he is by far the most consistent player in the tournament history and the top-run scorer. He has scored well for India in the knockout stages of the tournament, with half-centuries in all such matches. Despite his heroics, he is yet to win a T20 WC for India. He was even named the ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

He has otherworldly stats while chasing in T20 World Cups. In nine successful chases, Virat has scored 518 runs at a batting average of 518.00! This is because he was dismissed only once while chasing. He has scored half-centuries in seven innings while chasing.

Overall, Virat has some unbelievable all-format stats. With the advent of T20I cricket and a higher workload, Virat’s consistency in terms of runs and appearances across all formats makes him arguably the best all-format batter ever. In 501 matches, he has scored 25,582 runs at an average of 53.63. In 559 innings, he has scored 76 centuries and 131 fifties, with the best score of 254*.

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He is the second-highest run-scorer for India and fifth-highest run-scorer in international cricket, chasing the records of 34,357 international runs, 664 international appearances and 100 international centuries of his idol, Sachin. He has the most ‘Player of the Series’ awards in history.

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