Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli overcame the early nerves to score 35 against Pakistan in DP World Asia Cup at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The India-Pakistan clash brings the world to a standstill and Virat Kohli chose the right stage to achieve the landmark of playing his 100th Twenty20 International during the DP World Asia Cup contest at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

You might love him or hate him, but the talismanic batter wears his heart on his sleeve even after playing 464 international matches across all three formats. Even today the 33-year-old shows the same enthusiasm of teenager when a wicket falls and sprints towards the bowler in celebration. That shows his unflinching commitment.

Making his debut in 2008 in the One Day Internationals against Sri Lanka in Dambulla, Kohli carried the Indian team on his strong shoulders for the last 14 years, scoring runs across all formats — 23,000-plus in all.

After India won the World Cup in 2011, Kohli proclaimed that: “He (Sachin Tendulkar) has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years, it was time we carried him.”

What he didn’t say was that he was ready to carry on Team India’s burden, and he did it with a sense of dignity. Kohli is only the second batter in the world, after Ross Taylor to play 100 internationals across all formats.

Old mojo

But in recent times, runs have eluded him. Nothing wrong with his game, nothing wrong with his attitude, but still no luck. Kohli showed semblance of what he is capable of when he finally managed to score a critical 35 against Pakistan, Kohli was a different batter as he found his old mojo, bringing his search for runs to an end.

There was a time his bat looked like giant size and Kohli standing taller than that on world stage, plundering runs at will. But once he started performing below his own lofty standards, a sense of disbelief in himself created doubts in his mind, allowing him to do things that he is not familiar with. Lost in the land of unknown, Kohli’s life became difficult after several critics questioned his place in the team.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, who was underfire for his lack of runs, found some of his strokes against Pakistan, but for an untimely and needless dismissal, the star batter could have gone on score big. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Accolades pour in

All the talk could have now been put to rest had Kohli continued to play a bit longer and scored a half-century, that would have also given him the confidence had he taken India to victory, his wicket coming immediately, after the fall of Rohit Sharma.

Kohli’s timing was perfect at the nets, but runs matter and these 35 runs and the dropped chance should signal that runs will return to flow from his bat.

Accolades poured in for Kohli on his landmark with captain Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, K.L Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya sending their wishes along with AB de Villiers and his current skipper Faf du Plessis, Kohli’s Royal Challengers teammates.

Now that he has completed his century in Twenty20, a century awaits from his blade.