Virat Kohli`s masterclass draws effusive praise from cricket fraternity

Virat Kohli said it was `the stuff of dreams’ fairly Sachin Tendulkar`s record of 49 one-day international centuries on Sunday. On his 35th birthday, Kohli made an unbeaten 101 as India posted 326-5 in the ICC World Cup 2023 series against South Africa at the country’s iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

“It’s a big opportunity to play every opportunity for India and to do this on my birthday in front of a huge crowd is the stuff of dreams. It’s something you dream about as a kid,” Kohli said.

“I’m happy to help the team as much as possible.” Kohli now has a total of 49 ODI centuries, 29 hundreds in Test matches and one ton in Twenty20 internationals. He has amassed more than 26,000 runs in all three formats.

“Well played Virat,” Tendulkar wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, which celebrated his 50th birthday in April. “It took me 365 days to go from 49 to 50 earlier this year. I hope you go from 49 to 50 and break my record in the next few days. Congratulations!”

Also Read: Virat Kohli, the most complete batsman of the modern era

Former competitor, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi also praised Kohli. “This is the best birthday gift from Virat Kohli to the fans of the India team & the entire cricket fraternity,” Afridi wrote on X. Former West Indies Bowler, Ian Bishop, now a respected TV commentator, wrote on the media social: “Legacy cemented: 49 years on 35th birthday for Virat Kohli to reach level with great Sachin Tendulkar. Two greats of the game.”

Suresh Raina, who once played with Kohli, described his companion as “so elegant”. “When I first met him, I remember every match he would say, `I have to score 100 today’. Well done Virat, so beautiful, so elegant, just like wow!” In a Star Sports broadcast on Sunday, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan said in Hindi: “Kohli carried Sachin on his shoulder during the 2011 World Cup celebrations…..But now he stands shoulder to shoulder with the Master Blaster.”

Former India opener Virender Sehwag told Kohli to “take a bow”. “What a day to equal the great man`s record of most ODI 100s. His birthday at the historic Eden Gardens. Take a bow, Virat Kohli. Congratulations on a great one,” wrote Sehwag.

Carlos Braithwaite, the West Indies star who hit four sixes in the final to beat England in the final of the 2016 World Twenty20 in India, said he hoped Kohli would get to his 50th century – at the appropriate time.

Also read: Down the memory lane!

“You want Kohli to get the record in the semi-finals or the final. It wouldn’t be romantic to do it against the Netherlands,” he said on the BBC. However, Sri Lanka’s World Cup skipper Kusal Mendis seemed to have little effect on the significance of the occasion.

Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi ahead of his team’s match against Bangladesh, Mendis was asked if he would like to pay tribute to Kohli. “Why would I congratulate him?” asked Mendis sadly.

(For agency input)

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