Mohali : Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has said that Virat Kohli has always had that fire in his belly since his Test debut and how he is unique in terms of getting under the skin of the bowlers.
As India take on Sri Lanka in the first Test of the two-match series, batter Virat Kohli will achieve the milestone of playing 100 matches in the longest format. "Playing 100th Test for your country is an incredible feeling, all of us when we were kids playing in the compounds of our house, we dream of playing for India. After playing for the country and you come to your 100th Test, it is an incredible feeling. Reaching the 100th Test means you have played for the country very successfully. No carrier will be smooth, there will be highs and lows," said Gavaskar in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of BCCI.
"Whether Kohli is fielding or going out to bat, the crowd will lift him up. That is what crowds do, especially when it is a home crowd. Everyone will be wanting him to get a hundred in his 100th Test. His has been an incredible journey, I remember him making his debut in the West Indies in 2011, even there you could see a fire in him," he added.
Kohli was slated to play his 100th Test during the South Africa series earlier this year, but as fate has it, he will reach the milestone in India itself with a 50 per cent crowd in attendance at the PCA Stadium, Mohali.
"To provoke a fast bowler takes something else. Kohli is one of the rare batters who likes to sledge bowlers. He has been different, he likes to get under their skin. He is like Javed Miandad in that sense. His progress has been phenomenal, the consistency with which he has played, the 100th Test and beyond should be more of the same," said Gavaskar.
Earlier this year, Kohli stepped down as the Test leader but it was not before the batter left a lasting legacy as a captain in the longest format of the game.
Kohli holds the record for most Test appearances as India Test captain (68) and he also holds the record for most Test wins by an Indian captain (40). Only Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh have won more matches than Kohli as captain in Test cricket.
Kohli had first led the side in Test cricket in 2014 against Australia. His last game as captain was the Cape Town Test in South Africa, which India lost by seven wickets. Filling the shoes of MS Dhoni was not going to be easy, but Kohli quickly cemented his position as one of the best thinkers the country has seen in Test cricket.
He had last scored a century in international cricket in 2019 against Bangladesh and since then, the entire nation is waiting eagerly for the batter to register his 71st ton.
One can just hope he registers the milestone in his 100th Test and if it does happen, it would mean that the stars truly aligned for a once-in-a-generation batter. (