Like Sachin Tendulkar in 2011, Virat Kohli carrying Team India on his shoulders in 2023 World Cup

Virat Kohli playing a shot during his knock of 95 against New Zealand
Virat Kohli playing a shot during his knock of 95 against New Zealand

Virat Kohli came very close to matching Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 centuries in One Day International (ODI) cricket. He was just five runs away, on 95, when he was caught by Glenn Phillips off Matt Henry’s delivery while India chased New Zealand’s total of 274. Kohli acknowledged the crowd’s support and applause with a smile as he left the field, missing the opportunity to reach a century.

Despite falling short of a century in this match, it’s likely only a matter of time before Kohli equals and possibly surpasses his idol Tendulkar’s record. Beyond his personal milestones, Kohli has assumed a role similar to Tendulkar’s in the 2011 World Cup, serving as the talisman and core of the Indian cricket team. Just as Tendulkar was India’s top run-scorer in the 2011 edition, Kohli has already contributed significantly with 354 runs at an average of 118 in five games in the current campaign, playing a pivotal role in India’s victories, except in the Pakistan match.

Kohli’s form and approach left Indian captain Rohit Sharma in awe, with Rohit acknowledging Kohli’s consistency and self-confidence. Kohli’s ability to adapt to various plans and strategies makes him a challenging opponent for rival captains, much like the way Tendulkar used to be.

Throughout this World Cup, Kohli’s performances have consistently come at crucial moments in the matches, significantly influencing the outcomes. He has shown his ability to anchor a chase, whether it’s on challenging pitches or in tricky situations where openers have fallen early.

Kohli’s role as the team’s mainstay and his knack for delivering in high-pressure scenarios has drawn comparisons to how Tendulkar carried the hopes of a nation for many years. It’s symbolic that Kohli once lifted Tendulkar on his shoulders during the lap of honor after India’s 2011 World Cup triumph, describing it as a gift to the cricketing legend who had given so much to the country.

Over the next decade, Kohli is expected to continue carrying the hopes of his nation. He has evolved into the flag-bearer of Indian cricket, excelling in all formats and becoming an all-time legend and an exceptional 50-over batsman. His success as a captain has also molded the team to reflect his leadership style, making them a formidable unit.

While MS Dhoni was known as a finisher, Kohli has established himself as a chase-master, excelling in steep run chases. A significant number of his centuries have come when chasing targets successfully, and he boasts an incredible average in games where India has batted second. It’s not just his statistics, but the way he conducts chases that makes him a spectacle in the game.

With Kohli inching closer to Tendulkar’s record, fans will eagerly watch every match, not only to witness India’s victories but also to see Kohli achieve this milestone. It would be a moment of immense satisfaction for Kohli and his team if someone carries him on their shoulders during a lap of honor, akin to what he did for Tendulkar, on the night of November 19th in Ahmedabad.