10 years since his Test debut, the India skipper has overcome a tentative start to become a giant of the game
When Virat Kohli walked into the ground in Southampton on Sunday, it marked, to this day, exactly 10 years for him in Test cricket. And the transformation in him since his Test debut has been remarkable.
In fact, this writer was at the press box in Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica, 2011, when a young Kohli played his maiden Test.
And, soon after he began his first Test knock, Kohli became an object of mirth with the West Indian scribes.
Fidel Edwards, deceptively quick with a nasty short ball, got Kohli to hop around with a short leg in place.
And Kohli was clearly uncomfortable, often jumping awkwardly to keep these deliveries down instead of going for the hook or the pull or swaying away, or ducking. And we heard voices. “He cannot play the short ball, maan,” said one of the local scribes. Edwards fired out Kohli early in both the innings; in the second he fell to a delivery aimed at his ribs.
During the practice sessions on the tour, Kohli would have tennis balls bounced at him. He had to keep his feet on the ground, watch the ball.
And when India toured Australia in 2011-12, the fiercely determined Kohli turned things around.
At the lively Perth pitch, he hooked and pulled, coming up with scores of 44 and 75.
Then he conjured a magnificent 116 in the Adelaide Test. Kohli had arrived on the big stage. Now he is a giant in the game with 70 international hundreds, 27 of them in Tests.
From a tentative start to a world-beater, it has been a spirit-lifting journey by Kohli with a perfect 10 for dedication.