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Why 31 is an important number for birthday boy Kohli

Rituraj Borkakoty/Dubai
Filed on November 5, 2019
Virat Kohli celebrated his 31st birthday with wife Anushka Sharma in Bhutan on Tuesday (PTI)

Judging Kohli by his numbers in the 2010s, it's probably not going to shock the world if he goes on to break the records of a man he worshipped

Brian Lara was certainly a man whose gorgeous backlift and the poetry of his movement would play on your mind if you are a connoisseur of batting.

The architect of myriad classics, Lara holds a special place in every romantic's heart.

And now it's Virat Kohli that makes the West Indies legend drool.

The Prince of Trinidad recently asked the wide-eyed kids at a Dubai school to watch Kohli bat.

Lara said watching Kohli bat is a must for kids if they wanted to become proper batsmen - players that could excel in all three formats of the game.

For a man whose record-breaking knocks of 400 and 501 in cricket's longer versions are now a part of the folklore, Lara knows the value of having a Kohli in the game at a time when the tsunami of shorter formats have played havoc with many young cricketers' technique.

Despite Steve Smith racking up staggering numbers in Test cricket, it's the purity of Kohli's technique and his risk-free approach that have impressed Lara.

Now Kohli, who celebrated his 31st birthday with his wife Anushka Sharma in the picturesque Bhutan on Tuesday, knows the next few years in his journey will decide if he is going to have a shot at matching or even breaking the record of 100 international centuries set by Lara's great rival, Sachin Tendulkar.

While Lara is now asking young cricketers to learn from Kohli, there was a time when a young Kohli would spend hours watching Tendulkar bat, trying to learn the Indian maestro.

Little did he know then that his own journey would put him in such a place from which he would be having a real chance to break the most magical of batting records.

The Delhi batsman reached 31 in the innings of his life on Tuesday. And in the game that he plays with so much passion, Kohli needs 31 centuries to become only the second man after his childhood idol to reach the landmark of 100 tons.

So can Kohli do the unthinkable?

Well the Indian skipper, who made his international debut in 2008, took a couple of years to become a world-class player.

Kohli's run-making exploits since then have been astonishing.

The right-hander is the only batsman to have scored more than 20,000 runs in a decade.

And 68 of Kohli's 69 international centuries have come since the start of this decade.

Judging Kohli by his numbers in the 2010s, it's probably not going to shock the world if he goes on to break the records of a man he worshipped.

The pundits often say that world-class batsmen enjoy their best phase in their early and mid 30s.

So the plethora of Kohli's fans probably have yet to see the modern master in full bloom.

And add Kohli's obsession with fitness and perfection to that, you have a serious challenger to Tendulkar's throne.

rituraj@khaleejtimes.com

 


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