Former India captain Virat Kohli, who is set to become the 12th Indian to achieve the milestone of playing 100 Tests, says he never thought he would come this far and make this landmark appearance.
Kohli’s 100th Test will be against Sri Lanka beginning on Friday. A day before the milestone Test, Kohli said in a video posted by BCCI, “Life is unpredictable in many beautiful ways and I don’t think that we should put any restrictions on life in terms of how many amazing moments you can witness in the future.”
“You have no idea what the future holds. So it’s best not to panic or not to get demotivated by what might not happen, because my career and my life is example that anything is possible.”
‘I never thought i’ll play 100 Test matches. It has been a long journey. Grateful that i’ve been able to make it to 100’ – @imVkohli on his landmark Test.
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 3, 2022
Kohli’s 100th Test will be open to spectators with the BCCI allowing crowd at 50 per cent stadium capacity.
“I hear the crowds have been allowed as well. It’s going to be a special special morning. I mean I wouldn’t lie. There will be some butterflies,” he said. “There have to be butterflies till the last game you play for India. Once those butterflies are gone, you know it’s time. They have remained for a long period of time and they continue to be. And this Test will be no different,” he added.
Kohli will join an elite list of 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.
“It feels surreal, I never imagined I would play 100 Tests for India. It’s been a long journey, played a lot of cricket over the course of playing these 100 Tests, a lot of International cricket. Knowing the amount of Tests that we play in today’s day and age, God’s been kind. I have worked really hard on my fitness and it’s a big moment for me, my family and coach. So yeah, it’s a very, very special moment,” he added.
“The way people look at Test cricket being played under me or just the way I went about playing Tests and how I thought and how I wanted to play Tests, it hasn’t happened by chance. I have put in a lot of effort. I have really made sure that my core moral values, when it comes to the game of cricket, remain intact, which is wanting to play Test cricket and wanting the purest form of the game to stay alive.”
Kohli’s batsmanship also revived the dwindling fortunes of the Test format and the Indian said he feels proud to have contributed to the it. “If you have a bigger impact on your environment. It’s a matter of pride and really something to feel blessed about because this opportunity comes very rarely to people and I was blessed with this opportunity. I’ve given my heart and soul to this format. I’ve had the privilege…and I have done my job to the best of my abilities. I have fulfilled my responsibilities.”
When Kohli took over Test captaincy, India were at No.7 in the ICC rankings and by the time he gave it up, India finished five years in a row as the No 1-ranked Test team.
“I clearly remember when I took over the Test captaincy, I had this vision for the team that we need to play in a certain kind of way and we ended up achieving that five years in a row, so immensely proud. It was something magical to be a part of you entered the change room and you knew that you could win anywhere and that feeling was so empowering,” he said.
Kohli made his debut scoring just 4 and 15 against the West Indies in 2011. The star cricketer has amassed 7962 runs at a stellar average of 50.39 in the longest format so far.
“I think my first Test 100 is something that I remember very fondly and it’s very fresh in my memory still,” he said. “That is one day that will always be very, very special to me. And also, knowing the fact that it came in Australia, made it much more special. For a young guy wanting to establish himself in Test cricket, that first 100 to come in Australia was something that really boosted my confidence. If you see my career, it really took off from there. My confidence grew leaps and bounds,” he said.
Speaking about his fond memories, he said: “From 2015 to 2020, there were five-six years, the kind of cricket we played, each one of those tours or each one of those games is a special memory in itself. We’ve had some tough losses, we’ve had some amazing comebacks. I’m immensely proud of the whole phase. I can’t pinpoint one memory. I mean, it’d be wrong for me to point out series win in Australia or, you know, coming out of England 2-1 potentially getting the trophy back with us.”
Kohli thanked his actor wife Anushka Sharma for being “a huge influence” in his life. “I have become a completely changed man for all the right reasons. I have evolved in the right way. I’m very, very grateful and thankful to God to have a life partner like her and she’s been an absolute pillar of strength for me. I started evolving when Anushka came into my life and vice versa. We have both helped each other grow. I wouldn’t have been able to go on with so much composure and so much passion and zeal if it wasn’t for her in my life,” he said.