Virat Kohli scored a ton from 53 balls against Afghanistan on Thursday.© AFP
Virat Kohli finally put an end to a long wait that started in November 2019, when he last scored a century in international cricket. On Thursday, the wait of more than two years and nine months ended as the former captain of the Indian cricket team reached the three-figure mark with Fareed Ahmad’s six in the 19th over of the Asia Cup Super 4 match against Afghanistan. That shot meant Kohli hit a ton after nearly three years – which was also his 71st century in all formats and his first in T20Is! With an authoritative pull-shot against Fareed Ahmad’s short ball, he cleared the deep mid-wicket line to reach the momentous point.
Kohli eventually finished with 122* from just 61 balls, which is the highest individual T20I score for India. He surpassed Rohit Sharma’s 118 against Sri Lanka in Indore in 2017. He has now also matched Ricky Ponting’s mark of 71 international centuries. Only Sachin Tendulkar (100) has scored more tons than Kohli and Ponting.
The 34-year-old has been under increasing pressure in recent months due to his meager patch. Some experts even questioned his place in the T20I team as his success rate was not among the best in recent times. However, Kohli has now silenced all those critics with his scintillating knock on Afghanistan. Even before this match, Kohli scored two half-centuries and showed signs of returning to form.
“This Asia Cup will be remembered for Virat Kohli who finally takes the U-turn in top form. Very aggressive, very impressive, very Virat Kohli,” Mohammad Kaif wrote on Twitter. His obersavation summed up perfectly what Kohli’s form means for India ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Against Afghanistan, Kohli started with a measured approach and then went wild. His innings included 12 fours and six sixes. The range of his shots was great as he regularly found the hole.
“The past two and a half years have taught me a lot. I will be 34 in a month,” Kohli said after the ton. “So those angry parties are a thing of the past. Actually, I was shocked. This is the last format I thought. It was an accumulation of a lot of things. The team has been open and helpful. I know there’s a lot of stuff out there. And i kissed my ring you see me standing here because one person put things in perspective for me that is anushka this hundred is for her and also for our little daughter vamika if you have someone next to you have conversations about things to put in perspective, as Anushka was…when I came back I wasn’t desperate.Six weeks off I was refreshed.I realized how tired I was.Competitiveness didn’t allow it, but this break allowed me to enjoy the game again. “
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