Virat Kohli’s innings of 122, in the incredible chase against England in the first ODI on Sunday, has shattered records and earned praise from across the cricketing world. As he becomes the no.1 Indian player run chaser after the sachin tendulkar.
The biggest testament to Kohli’s stature and performance as a player and skipper is when the praise comes from the opposition camp. After his innings in the India vs England 1st ODI in Pune, former and current England players applauded Kohli, with a former England skipper even calling him the Cristiano Ronaldo of cricket.
On Chasing England’s 351 for victory, India stuttered at the start and were reduced to 63/4.Enter Virat Kohli, playing his first match as full-time captain of the India national cricket team across all formats after taking over the ODI captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kohli’s innings was class and aggression personified as he slammed yet another century, his 27th overall, while at the same time guided a young Kedar Jadhav, who smashed his second century.
Kohli and Jadhav’s 200-run partnership helped India chase down a total of 350-plus for the third time, all in the last three years in ODIs, and all in India. He also surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 14 centuries in successful chases.
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain compared Kohli to Real Madrid and Portugal football star Cristiano Ronaldo while giving his analysis on Sky Sports.
“I think what Kohli is trying to do is push the boundary and raise the bar of everything he does,” said Hussain. No-one says to him ‘being captain in three forms is too much for you’, no one says ‘you can chase 300 but can you chase 350 from 63-4?’
“I read out here that he prefers [Cristiano] Ronaldo to [Lionel] Messi. Messi was given a lot of natural ability but he prefers Ronaldo, who has made himself the footballer that he is and pushed himself on and off football pitch — and that is what Kohli has done in cricketing terms,” added Hussain.
Hussain’s former teammate, Michael Vaughan, went a step ahead, calling Kohli the best Test, ODI and T20 player, even joking that the India captain was from another planet.
Kohli averages in the late 70s as a captain, having been the skipper in 18 ODIs. He now lies fourth in the list of most centuries in ODIs ever, despite not even completing a decade of international cricket.
Hussain has compared Kohli to Ronaldo, the Portuguese superstar who is widely regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats, if not the best. Last year, Ronaldo won his fourth Ballon d’Or, which is the most by a European in history. Much like Ronaldo, who was the highest paid athlete of 2016, Kohli is one of the biggest icons of the game, with a massive fan following.
England skipper Eoin Morgan said after the match that Kohli is “fantastic” and that it was proven yet again in Pune.
“There is always something you can do even when he’s (Kohli is) in and at times the plans weren’t too far from working,” he said. “There was a ball that just went over (Alex) Halesy’s head… on another day that goes to hand, they’re five down and we’re into them. But he’s a fantastic player and he’s proved that over a long period of time.”