5 November 2023, Mumbai: Kohli’s larger-than-life career, the India vs. South Africa match at the World Cup 2023 on this particular Sunday stands out. As Virat Kohli celebrates his 35th birthday, it’s hard not to wonder if there’s any day special enough to make a cricketer of his caliber feel extraordinary. With 70,000 people cheering “Happy Birthday” as he strides out to the pitch, it must indeed be surreal. But in Kohli’s world, does the occasion truly matter? Be it batting, fielding, IPL, or international matches, the spotlight perpetually follows him. The weight of expectations is inescapable, and the scrutiny, relentless and minute, often verges on the mundane.
A Unique Day in Virat Kohli’s Glittering Career
However, even in the context of Kohli’s larger-than-life career, the India vs. South Africa match at the World Cup 2023 on this particular Sunday stands out. Not just because he’s adding another year to his age, but because this birthday carries the potential to be his most cherished one. This day place him on the same pedestal as his childhood hero, Sachin Tendulkar. A couple of days ago, Kohli came agonizingly close to matching Tendulkar’s world record of 49 ODI centuries at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Imagine the grandeur of achieving such a feat at the sacred venue, the same place where India lifted the World Cup against Sri Lanka 12 years ago. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Virat Kohli Back to Where It All Began
Now, destiny guides him to the Eden Gardens in Kolkata for a date with South Africa. Surely, fate wouldn’t deny him twice – not on his birthday and certainly not on the very ground where his remarkable journey started 14 years ago. In December 2009, a young Kohli, still establishing himself at the international level, played a sublime innings, scoring his first century (107 off 114 balls) in front of a massive crowd. He was instrumental in India’s successful chase of 316 with 7 wickets in hand. Though Gautam Gambhir was awarded the Player of the Match for his unbeaten 150, he shared the honor with Kohli, recognizing his contribution.
Virat Kohli s World Cup Odyssey
Fast forward 14 years, and Kohli returns to Eden Gardens as cricketing royalty, hunting for his elusive 49th century. The venue had grand plans to distribute Kohli masks to the spectators and host a cake-cutting ceremony before the game, but ICC regulations nixed such grand gestures during the World Cup. Nevertheless, for Kohli, such gestures are unnecessary. This World Cup is his stage, A proof to his influence is the remarkable shift in crowd allegiance – at the Wankhede Stadium, fans swiftly changed their chants from ‘Sara Sara’ to “Shubman Shubman” after a mere gesture from Kohli. Similar fervor is expected at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
Virat Kohli’s Focus
A day before the crucial match, Kohli was seen training with utmost focus. He’s been a paragon of consistency and professionalism, always committed to giving his best. India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, acknowledged Kohli’s unwavering dedication, mentioning that Kohli remains centered on the team’s success and delivering exceptional performances. The pursuit of records and personal milestones seems secondary to Kohli’s larger goal of winning the World Cup. Dravid also hinted at Kohli’s potential as a bowler, suggesting he might utilize Kohli’s bowling skills when the situation demands.
Virat Kohli ‘s Record at Eden Gardens
Kohli’s return to Eden Gardens comes after a hiatus of four years. His previous innings here in 2017 resulted in an impressive 92 runs, earning him the Player of the Match accolade. In seven ODIs played at the venue, he boasts an average of 47, including three half-centuries and a century. His track record against South Africa is equally formidable, with an average of 61 in 30 ODIs, featuring four centuries and eight half-centuries against the Proteas. Kohli’s unparalleled consistency and remarkable achievements continue to mark his extraordinary cricketing journey.
1. When is Virat Kohli birthday?
– Virat Kohli celebrates his birthday on 5 November, a particular Sunday during a match between India and South Africa at the World Cup 2023.
2. How close did Virat Kohli break Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of ODI centuries?
– Kohli came agonizingly close to matching Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries but narrowly missed the milestone at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
3. What is significant about the venue for Kohli’s match against South Africa?
– The match takes place at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, which holds special significance as it’s where Kohli scored his first century in front of a massive crowd
4. What is Virat Kohli’s focus during the World Cup?
– Kohli’s primary focus during the World Cup is on winning the tournament with the Indian cricket team, emphasizing team success over personal records.
5. How has Virat Kohli performed in previous matches at Eden Gardens?
– Kohli has a stellar record at Eden Gardens, with impressive performances in previous innings. Against South Africa, he has maintained consistency with four centuries and eight half-centuries in 30 ODIs.
By Yashika Desai