Opinion Piece

Kohli@500 - Another Achievement for the Milestone Man

Virat Kohli became the 10th cricketer to appear in 500 International matches during the second test between India and West Indies in Trinidad. He is ahead of his idol Sachin Tendulkar after his 500th match in terms of scoring centuries.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2023-07-24

Kohli’s Inspiration

Virat Kohli Test Celebration 3.jpegAt Port of Spain in the second Test against the West Indies, Virat Kohli played his 500th International match. It was Kohli’s 111th Test match. With 274 ODIs and 115 T20Is under his belt, Kohli became the fourth Indian cricketer to reach this mark. Sachin Tendulkar (664), MS Dhoni (538) and Rahul Dravid (509) are the other three.

Like many other cricket players in India, Sachin Tendulkar was Kohli’s inspiration in his formative years. The famous Sharjah series was always fresh in young Kohli’s mind who started playing tennis ball cricket as a kid in his neighbourhood and then joined the West Delhi cricket academy as a nine-year old in 1998.

Incidentally, after 499 games, Kohli outscores his idol by 622 runs, has a healthier batting average, equal number of centuries (75) and 17 more half centuries. Tendulkar had scored 24,839 runs at an average of 48.51 with 75 tons and 114 half centuries. Kohli has scored 25,461 at an average of 53.48 and 131 half centuries and has registered his 76th ton in the remarkable 500th match. Kohli also stands second after only Tendulkar with most runs in international cricket for India.


500 Test Milestone

Kohli’s 121 run-knock in the 1st innings of the ongoing Test match has made him the batter with most centuries after reaching 500 Tests going past Sachin Tendulkar’s 75. Two more greats find a mention in the list with the likes of Ricky Ponting (68) and Jacques Kallis (60).

Kohli has had a remarkable cricket journey from the Under-19 level. He was picked for the India under 19 team to tour England in 2006 and his performances for the Delhi age group team prompted the selectors to appoint him as the skipper of the Indian team for the U-19 World cup in 2008. It was a successful campaign for Kohli both as a batter and skipper as he scored 235 runs, picked 2 wickets and lead the team to victory.

Kohli was then picked for the India emerging team to tour Australia for a quadrangular series. In a game against New Zealand, Kohli was asked to open the innings replacing Ajinkya Rahane. Kohli scored a fluent unbeaten 120 to help the team chase 249 with nine overs remaining. Dilip Vengsarkar, then chief selector of the Indian senior team witnessed the knock and picked Virat Kohli for India on their tour of Sri Lanka where Kohli scored his maiden half century in his 4th game.

A year later Kohli had another moment of glory against Sri Lanka as he notched his maiden ODI hundred in a winning cause at Eden Gardens adding 224 runs with Gautam Gambhir who famously gave away his player-of-the-match award to young Kohli who was also his Delhi teammate. Kohli was picked for the 2011 World cup and became the first Indian to score a hundred on World cup debut as he scored an unbeaten 100 against Bangladesh in the first match and was part of a great batting order which went on to lift the cup.

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If he continues to play for at least five more years, it is possible that Tendulkar’s records for most centuries and most runs are under threat

Kohli was handed a Test debut in Jamaica against the West Indies in June 2011. On the tough 2012 tour of Australia, Kohli hit his maiden Test century in Adelaide. In the triangular series that followed, Kohli proved his mettle hitting an unbeaten 133 in only 86 balls against Sri Lanka, his ninth ODI ton, to keep India alive in the series. It was only the second occasion in the history of ODIs where a team has chased a total of over 300 inside 40 overs. The match had put Kohli on the pedestal as he was then looked as the future of Indian cricket.

Kohli proved the pundits right in the 2012 Asia cup fixture against Pakistan scoring his career best 183 to chase another 300 plus total; getting the title of ‘chase master’. The good run of form continued across formats until the English tour of 2014 where he failed to go past 39 in Tests and 40 in ODIs. It was a rare slump for Kohli who got out against the swinging ball outside the off stump on most of the occasions. Since then, it’s been an inspiring journey as the Delhi lad worked hard on his fitness and mind, becoming one of the world idols in the global sporting arena.

With the departure of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and his idol Sachin Tendulkar from the team, it was a phase of immense transition in the batting department and Kohli found himself at the helm. The 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia was the turning point as India’s new number 4. Kohli amassed 692 runs in 4 Tests with 5 centuries and a half century to help the team draw the series and had a terrific world cup that followed despite team falling short in the semi-final.

Kohli’s love affair with Australia continued as he was also appointed the Test skipper after MS Dhoni announced his retirement mid tour, Kohli returned as the skipper in 2018 and inspired the team to win a historic series. As a captain, Kohli took brave steps to play 5 bowlers regularly aiming to take 20 wickets to win a Test match and is considered as one of the greatest skipper India had in Tests.
Captaining India in 68 Tests, Kohli won 39 Tests and lost 16. Kohli led with example having scored 5703 runs at an average of 55.36 as captain and won India games in countries like Australia, England, South Africa and West Indies.

Being established in the Test and ODI teams, Kohli isn’t far behind in T20s as well. Being the batting and leadership mainstay of Royal Challengers Bangalore since the first edition of the IPL, Kohli is also the leading run scorer of all time in international T20s and scored his maiden T20I ton in 2022 against Afghanistan in the Asia cup.

On the first day in his 500th international game, Kohli surpassed Virender Sehwag to become the 5th highest run scorer in Test cricket for India and just has Tendulkar, Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar and VVS Laxman in front. If he continues to play for at least five more years, it is possible that Tendulkar’s records for most centuries and most runs are under threat.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.