Former India skipper and run-machine Virat Kohli is all set to add another feather to his illustrious hat as he will become the only 12th Indian to play his 100th Test.
Although Kohli may have stepped down as captain of the Indian side however, he has undoubtedly established himself as the most successful captain to lead India in the format and will always be known for the cultural transformation he brought into the side.
On the eve of his 100th Test, the run-machine acknowledged he’s proud to have created a bigger impact on the whole ecosystem.
“I have given my heart and soul to this format, I can proudly say that,” Kohli was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
“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,” he added.
“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,” he expressed.
Kohli further said: “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. I’ve played with some amazing teammates, some of the guys who have shared this journey with me for the most number of Test matches. I clearly remember when I took over Test captaincy I had this vision for this team that we need to play a certain kind of cricket and we need to be a certain kind of team in international cricket, and we ended up achieving that five years in a row.”
“So I’m immensely proud. Just the atmosphere was something magical to be a part of. You entered the change room when you knew that you could win anywhere. That feeling was so empowering. You just went to every tour without any baggage, without any nervousness, without any hesitations, and it was just an opportunity after opportunity. Something that when I sat in the change room and I looked around, I felt like I was able to fulfil my responsibilities, that’s the kind of feeling I got,” he added.
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old also pointed out that he had never expected to play 100 Tests.
“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,” he said.
“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. If you talk about that moment and this moment today, life is unpredictable in many beautiful ways and I don’t think that we should put any restrictions on life in terms of how many amazing moments you can witness in the future. You have no idea what the future holds. So it’s best not to panic or get demotivated by what might not happen because my career, my life is an example of anything is possible,” he added.
Kohli, who has 27 Test centuries along with 7962 runs, said that he fondly remembered his first century in the longest format of the game.
“I think my first Test hundred, it’s something that I remember very fondly and it’s very fresh in my memory still,” he said.
“That is one day that will always be very special to me and also knowing that fact that it came in Australia made it much more special. An overseas hundred for a young guy wanting to establish himself in Test cricket, for that first hundred to come in Australia was something that really boosted my confidence and if you see, my career really took off from there after that Test match. My confidence just grew leaps and bounds. So that match I remember very fondly,” he expressed.
“From 2015 to 2020, five-six years the kind of Test cricket we played, each one of those tours or each one of those games is a special memory in itself. We’ve had some tough losses, we’ve had some amazing comebacks. Immensely proud of the whole phase. Looking back at how amazing and how magical that journey was, I can’t pinpoint one memory. It’ll be wrong for me to point out the series win in Australia or coming out of England 2-1, potentially getting the trophy back with us. For us we understand those moments on a daily basis that we experience, which is far more special than these things,” Kohli added.
Kohli also said that he’s still looking ahead to contribute to the team’s success.
“I love playing this game, I’m still passionate to win lot of games for my country. That was my prime motivation when I started playing this game – that I want to play for India and win matches for my team. That was my single-minded motivation,” he pointed out.
“I continue to be in that space, all this chat around stats and numbers and all that, it’s just a fantasy for people on the outside. I never really focus on these things, and if I did I wouldn’t have had the amount of runs that I’ve scored or the amount of milestones I’ve achieved over the last 10-12 years. Your intent has to be right and my intent keeps being in the same space – which is I want to win as many matches as I can for India,” he added.