Virat Kohli’s 100th Test: The one thing that will define Virat Kohli’s legacy as a Test cricketer will be the development of the “environment and to the culture” in Indian cricket that has made the side one of the most dominant teams in the world, and has developed a barely-seen-belief of winning away from home, Virat Kohli said on the eve of his landmark 100th Test in Mohali.
Having given “my heart and soul” to Test cricket, Virat Kohli is set to become only the 12th Indian and 71st player overall to earn 100 Tests caps when he takes the field at the IS Bindra Stadium on Friday to take on Sri Lanka.
India never suffered a home Test series defeat under the Delhi-born Virat Kohli – in fact, they lost only two Tests at home under Kohli – and he propelled the side to the summit and kept there for years, having taken it in the doldrums.
In a video uploaded by the BCCI on its website, Kohli said: “I have given my heart and soul to this format, I can proudly say that. It feels great that I was able to contribute to my environment and to the culture in bigger ways than just strategies and plans, trying to get batsmen out and trying to manoeuvre the bowlers. If you have a bigger impact on the environment, it’s a matter of pride and really something to feel blessed about because this opportunity comes very rarely to people and I was blessed with this opportunity.”
Under Virat Kohli, who stepped down as the Test captain earlier this year, India became the first Asian team to win a Test series in Australia. The effect of the “culture” he created was reflected in the odds-defying series win again in Australia last year.
“The way people look at Test cricket being played under me as the Indian team or just the way I went about playing Test cricket and how I thought and how I wanted to play Test cricket, it hasn’t happened by chance. I have put in a lot of effort, I have made sure that my core moral values when it comes to the game of cricket remain intact. Which is wanting to play Test cricket, wanting the purest form of the game to stay alive, and for that we needed to play in a certain manner.
“I’ve had the privilege and the opportunity to create a culture which I think I have set as a leader over the last few years. And I have done my job to the best of my abilities, I’ve fulfilled my responsibilities. I look back very proudly on that period.”
In his 99 Tests so far, Kohli averages 50.39 at the moment – this is despite him not scoring a century for over two years, and a period which has been regarded as his worst dip in Test cricket. Overall, Virat Kohli has scored 7962 runs in 99 Tests, with the help of 27 centuries, 7 of which are double hundreds, and 28 fifties.
Virat Kohli said that he never expected to play in 100 Tests, and remained grateful for how things have transpired so far.
“I honestly never thought I will play 100 Test matches. It’s been a long journey, played a lot of cricket over the course of playing these 100 Test matches, a lot of international cricket, so I’m just grateful that I’ve been able to make it to 100. There was the time where I remember that I told myself I will do anything possible to be able to play for India, when nothing could demotivate me or distract me anymore. I was completely focused on just getting to the top – not just getting to the top, I wanted to play for a long period of time.
“I never knew that I would be able to play 100 Test matches. but things unfolded in a way that the journey just kept on going,” Virat Kohli added.