There was a sense of inevitability about Virat Kohli completing the 10,000-run mark faster than any other batsman in the ODI arena. In a spectacular career wherein his average has seldom plunged below 40, for a substantial part flickered over 50 and now stands a smidge under 60, the last three years have been outstanding. The numbers in this span — 3000 runs in 44 matches at an average of 98.8 — would make you believe that he’s made a business out of being phenomenal.
The cricket-crazy public of the country is fortunate, for the country has produced a genuine batting legend in every era. From the Jamnagar prince Ranjitsinhji and post-Independence greats like Vijay Hazare and Vijay Merchant to Mumbai virtuosos Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, there has been no shortage of pedigreed batsmen. Kohli is the latest, and like every protege, is an upgraded version of his predecessors, meticulously raising the bar, expanding the horizon of achievement and scope of imagination. When Gavaskar retired after an epic knock against Pakistan in Bangalore, it seemed no space was left for genius. Next year came Tendulkar, and nearly 20 years later when he walked into the sunset, there seemed no superlative unspent. Five years later, they’re celebrating Kohli.
Just as watching Tendulkar stoked Kohli’s cricketing dreams, the former was inspired by Gavaskar, and Gavaskar by the Vijays, a youngster would be forging his dreams watching Kohli. The Indian skipper will be his yardstick of greatness — young cricketers like Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are already trying to emulate him. There’s an air of wondrous inevitability about the numbers and achievements he would end up with.