Star Indian batter Virat Kohli marked a momentous milestone on Friday as he completed 15 glorious years in international cricket. The journey that began in 2008 against Sri Lanka has since seen him emerge as one of the cricketing world’s most celebrated and accomplished figures.
Kohli’s debut came during an ODI in Dambulla, where he opened the innings alongside Gautam Gambhir. His initial outing saw him amass 12 runs from 22 deliveries before being dismissed by Nuwan Kulasekara. Little did the world know that this young talent would go on to become a cricketing legend and a source of inspiration for countless aspiring cricketers.
Cricket Gods’ Favor
On this remarkable 15th anniversary, former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar took a moment to reminisce about a particular innings that highlighted Kohli’s unparalleled cricketing prowess. Akhtar recalled Kohli’s sensational knock of 82* (53) against Pakistan during the T20 World Cup in 2022. This innings was more than just a display of skill; it was a testament to Kohli’s resilience and his unwavering connection with the game.
In a candid conversation on the show ‘Backstage with Boria’ on RevSportz, Shoaib Akhtar shared his insights on that unforgettable innings. He emphasized that the match was a manifestation of destiny conspiring in Kohli’s favor. The cricketing gods seemed to have decided that this was Kohli’s moment to shine once again, especially given the challenges he had been facing during that phase of his career.
“That match was all about Virat Kohli. The cricket Gods wanted to do it for him. He wasn’t in the best of form, and was facing a lot of heat from you guys in India. The media was after him. It was as if God was telling him – this is your stage, come and become king again,” Akhtar passionately expressed.
Delving deeper into the innings, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by two scintillating sixes that Kohli struck off Pakistani fast bowler Haris Rauf in the 19th over. These strokes not only added runs to the scoreboard but also seemed to symbolize Kohli’s reclaiming of his cricketing kingdom.
“If you see all that transpired – rain and a lot of it, 100,000 people, 1.3 billion Indians watching, 30 crore Pakistanis watching, the whole world in awe – the stage was set for Kohli. It was the greatest stage of all. When you add the two sixes that he hit off Haris Rauf, that match gave him back his kingdom. I think it was all destined for him on that day at the MCG,” Akhtar remarked.
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Kohli’s exceptional innings not only brought India an improbable victory but also served as a turning point in his career. With his miraculous knock, he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, successfully chasing down a target of 160 on the last ball. Kohli’s resurgence in this match mirrored his resurgence in his career, symbolizing his ability to bounce back even during his most challenging times.