For Virat Kohli, his ton against Afghanistan in an Asia Cup Super 4 match was a relief to say the least. After more than 1000 days, Kohli scored a ton in international cricket. His 122* from 61 balls against Afghanistan was also the highest individual score ever in T20I cricket by an Indian. With the T20 World Cup kicking off in less than two months, Kohli couldn’t have dreamed of better timing to get back into shape. After Thursday’s ton, former India coach Ravi Shastri was asked if Kohli had reached the three-digit mark after 1020 days, and he gave his insight on the matter.
“You mentioned 1020 days, I can say 700 days I was in that locker room when that happened. It’s a long time. The monkey is off its back now. When you had amazing success like him, when 70 hundreds come like this, then you go through a period of one, two years, two-and-a-half years, two-and-three quarters, and then ordinary people start to think, “It’s been so long.” He’s a human being. It would have been food. He would get up every morning, whether he thinks about it or not, and is subconsciously reminded of it,” Ravi Shastri told Star Sports.
“Today I think he will be five kilos less. Don’t ask me where the weight came from, at least five kilos less from the head. You could see that in the last 40 runs of his innings. It was Virat Kohli. His trademark shots, the confidence, the balance, the total disregard for bowling are back. It took a long time.”
Thursday was the night for Kohli who warmed a billion hearts with a special turn. His 61-ball undefeated effort earned him his first 100 since November 2019 and 71st overall, matching Ricky Ponting’s tally of international centuries. He is now only behind Sachin Tendulkar in the all-time list. It was also Kohli’s first ton in the shortest format. While Rohit Sharma was resting for India’s final game of the tournament, stand-in skipper KL Rahul (62 out of 41) and Kohli shared an entertaining 119 out of 76 balls for the opening wicket.
Kohli started playing with the field and the bowlers towards the end of the innings, enough indication that he was back at his best. Rahul’s knock was his most confident since he came back from injury.
The openers played brilliantly against the spinners, including Rashid Khan (0-33), an area they had to tackle on their way to the T20 World Cup.
With PTI inputs
Topics mentioned in this article