#10YearsChallenge- The 'Virat' rise in the stature of Kohli
2009 saw India dominate the proceedings at the ICC Awards, with Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni winning the Test and ODI Players of the Year award respectively. The latter also earned the captain's spot in the Test and ODI Teams of the Year. Juxtaposing this scenario against the viral 10 Year Challenge, the multilateral awards were once again dominated by the subcontinental juggernaut, but this time a one man army clean swept the major awards, also leading the best sides of the year. That man is none other than Virat Kohli.
Virat was an on and off the member in the side in 2009, with a string of inconsistent performances in the previous year. Ten years hence, the Delhi-born has redefined the parameters of consistency, etching milestones at will. The injury of Yuvraj Singh saw Kohli making a cut in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy. Today, such is the stature of Virat Kohli that his absence from just another bilateral series makes the balance look extremely underwhelming, with the team taking the series opener to come to terms with his absence.
The 30-year old went back to the First Class setup, competing in the Emerging Players Tournament 2009, to strengthen his case in the national side. Today, he stands as a role model for hundreds of emerging players, Indian as well as international, who dream to emulate his feats and gain his insights to their game. Kohli ended the year with 325 ODI runs in 10 matches, thus, solidifying his spot as a World Cup probable. Come 2019, he is all set to lead India into the marquee event and is arguably the most important member for the side's fortunes.
In the past decade, Sachin Tendulkar, in his late thirties, was still the mainstay of the Indian batting unit. Replicating his feats in the 22 yards was a herculean task. 10 years down the line, Virat, the Run Machine has successfully taken the 'bat''ton' from him, making the willow his ruthless weapon and breaching the three-figure mark at will. Till 2009, India had only 8 successful chases in excess of 300. As the state of affairs stand today, India have gunned down 10 300+ scores, with the Indian captain scoring centuries in 7 games. This demonstrates the 'Virat' impact that he has had on the side, earning him the sobriquet of 'Chase Master'.
Change the pitch, change the opposition, change the format, the man remains the same. Virat Kohli has transcended all the heights of success, and tumbled numerous milestones in the process. His passion is unparalleled, skill set second to none, and consistency unmatched. It is his passion for the game and patriotism for the side that has enabled him to etch new records for the country. While many cricketers try to set the ball rolling at the age of 30, he is already considered as one of the greatest to have graced the sport. Despite all the brouhaha around him, Virat never takes things for granted and discharges the national duty with utmost pride and vigilance.
As Harsha Bhogle has rightly pointed out, "Nobody represents new India like Virat Kohli." Once again, in the context of this article, India had only two players who had been awarded the ICC Player of the Year. Currently, Virat Kohli has already won it twice, and looks all set to add many more in his cabinet. It is his fearless brand of cricket that has set the tone for the next generation of Indian cricket. ICC Cricketer of the Year, ICC Test Cricketer of the Year, ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year, Wisden Award, Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna(the highest sporting honour of India), nothing has escaped the King's grasp. With Virat being in a rich vein of form, and with age on his side, he is all set to break many more boundaries in the years to come.