Mohali: India head coach Rahul Dravid led the felicitation of senior batter Virat Kohli on reaching the landmark of 100 Tests ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Friday.
Kohli, who became the 12th Indian and 71st cricketer overall to achieve the landmark, started off on a sound note at number four position till he was bowled by spinner Lasith Embuldeniya for 45. His innings comprised of five boundaries.
From an Indian perspective, Kohli joins an elite list featuring Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma to play 100 Tests for the country.
“It’s a testament to everything. Your skill, desire, determination, focus, you had it all. You have had a great journey of class and excellence. You should be proud of not only playing the 100th Test match but also of this great journey that you have to navigate. Congratulations to you and your family on this fantastic achievement. It’s well deserved, it’s well earned. As we say in the dressing room, double it up,” said Dravid before felicitating Kohli with a special Test cap with the entire Indian team lined up.
After receiving the special cap, Kohli said, “Thanks Rahul bhai, it is indeed a special moment for me. My wife (Anushka Sharma) is here, my brother is here in the stadium. All my family members, my coach from childhood, all are very proud. To all my teammates, thank you so much for your support over the years.
“It is indeed a team game and this journey couldn’t have been possible without all of you. To the BCCI to give me the opportunity to represent Indian cricket and from thereon, everything has gone from strength to strength.”
Kohli then spoke about how proud he is of achieving excellence in the longest format of the game. “The only thing I would say is in this day and age, with the amount of cricket we play - the three formats and the IPL, the only takeaway the next generation can take from my Test career is that I was able to strive through and play the purest format of the game and get to 100 Tests which is something I’m proud of.”
Kohli recalled an instance of him taking a picture with Dravid as a teenager and connected it with now receiving his 100th Test cap from him. “I couldn’t have received it from a better person (Rahul Dravid), one of my childhood heroes. I still have the picture in my house from my U-15 NCA days, when I was looking at you while getting a picture with you! Today, I get my 100th Test cap from you, so indeed it has been a great journey and one that continues to grow hopefully.”
Kohli made his Test debut against the West Indies in 2011, making just four and 15. But the low-key debut paved the path for achieving 7962 runs in 99 matches at an average of 50.39, including seven double centuries. For Kohli’s 100th Test match, 50 per cent crowd has been allowed inside the stadium, giving fans a good chance to see him in action as India won the toss and elected to bat first.