born 5 November 1988) is an Indian international cricketer and former captain of the Indian national team. He plays for Delhi in domestic cricket and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League as a right-handed batsman. Kohli is often considered one of the best batsmen of his era and some critics believe him to be one of the best limited-overs batsmen in history. Between 2013 and 2022, Kohli captained the India cricket team in more than 200 matches across all three formats.
Kohli made his Test debut in 2011. He reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen for the first time in 2013. He has won Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016). He also holds the world record of being the fastest to 23,000 international runs.
Kohli has been the recipient of many awards– most notably the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Decade): 2011–2020; Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Cricketer of the Year) in 2017 and 2018; ICC Test Player of the Year (2018); ICC ODI Player of the Year (2012, 2017, 2018) and Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World (2016, 2017 and 2018). At the national level, he was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2013, the Padma Shri under the sports category in 2017 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest sporting honour in India, in 2018.
He is ranked as one of the world’s most famous athletes by ESPN and one of the most valuable athlete brands by Forbes. In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2020, he was ranked 66th in Forbes list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world for the year 2020 with estimated earnings of over $26 million
Virat Kohli was born on 5 November 1988 in Delhi into a Punjabi Hindu family. His father, Prem Kohli, worked as a criminal lawyer and his mother, Saroj Kohli, is a homemaker. He has an older brother, Vikash, and an older sister, Bhavna.
Kohli was raised in Uttam Nagar and started his schooling at Vishal Bharti Public School. In 1998, the West Delhi Cricket Academy was created and a nine-year-old Kohli was part of its first intake. Kohli trained at the academy under Rajkumar Sharma and also played matches at the Sumeet Dogra Academy at Vasundhara Enclave at the same time. In ninth grade, he shifted to Saviour Convent in Paschim Vihar to help his cricket practice. Kohli’s family lived in Meera Bagh until 2015 when they moved to Gurugram.
Kohli’s father died on 18 December 2006 due to a stroke after being bed-ridden for a month.
Youth and domestic career
Kohli first played for Delhi Under-15 team in October 2002 in the 2002–03 Polly Umrigar Trophy. He became the captain of the team for the 2003–04 Polly Umrigar Trophy. In late 2004, he was selected in the Delhi Under-17 team for the 2003–04 Vijay Merchant Trophy. Delhi Under-17s won the 2004–05 Vijay Merchant Trophy in which Kohli finished as the highest run-scorer with 757 runs from 7 matches with two centuries. In February 2006, he made his List A debut for Delhi against Services but did not get to bat.
Kohli made his first-class debut for Delhi against Tamil Nadu in November 2006, at the age of 18, he scored 10 runs in his debut innings. He came into the spotlight in December when he decided to play for his team against Karnataka on the day after his father’s death and went on to score 90. He went directly to the funeral after he got out in the match. He scored a total of 257 runs from 6 matches at an average of 36.71 in that season.
In July 2006, Kohli was selected in the India Under-19 squad on its tour of England. He averaged 105 in the three-match ODI series against England Under-19s and 49 in the three-match Test series. India Under-19 went on to win both the series. In September, the India Under-19 team toured Pakistan. Kohli averaged 58 in the Test series and 41.66 in the ODI series against Pakistan Under-19s.
In April 2007, he made his Twenty20 debut and finished as the highest run-getter for his team in the Inter-State T20 Championship with 179 runs at an average of 35.80. In July–August 2007, the India Under-19 team toured Sri Lanka. In the triangular series against Sri Lanka Under-19s and Bangladesh Under-19s, Kohli was the second highest run-getter with 146 runs at an average of 29 from 5 matches. In the two-match Test series that followed, he scored 244 runs at an average of 122 including a century and a fifty.
In February–March 2008, Kohli captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. Batting at number 3, he scored 235 runs in 6 matches at an average of 47 and finished as the tournament’s third-highest run-getter and one of the three batsmen to score a hundred in the tournament. He was helped India in a three-wicket semi-final win over New Zealand Under-19s by taking 2 wickets and scoring 43 runs in the run-chase and was awarded the man of the match.
Indian Premier League
Following the Under-19 World Cup, Kohli was bought by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30,000 on a youth contract. In June 2008, Kohli and his Under-19 teammates Pradeep Sangwan and Tanmay Srivastava were awarded the Border-Gavaskar scholarship. The scholarship allowed the three players to train for six weeks at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. He was also picked in the India Emerging Players squad for the four-team Emerging Players Tournament and scored 206 runs in six matches at an average of 41.20.
In August 2008, Kohli was included in the Indian ODI squad for tour of Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. Prior to the Sri Lankan tour, Kohli had played only eight List A matches. So, his selection was called a “surprise call-up”. During the Sri Lankan tour, as both first-choice openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were injured, Kohli batted as a makeshift opener throughout the series. He made his international debut, at the age of 19, in the first ODI of the tour and was dismissed for 12. He made his first ODI half century, a score of 54, in the fourth match. He had scores of 37, 25 and 31 in the other three matches. India won the series 3–2 which was India’s first ODI series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.
After the postponement of Champions Trophy to 2009, Kohli was picked as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan in the India A squad for the unofficial Tests against Australia A in September 2008. He batted only once in the two-match series, and scored 49 in that innings. Later that month in September 2008, he played for Delhi in the Nissar Trophy against SNGPL (winners of Quaid-i-Azam Trophy from Pakistan) and top-scored for Delhi in both innings, with 52 and 197. The match was drawn but SNGPL won the trophy on first-innings lead. In October 2008, Kohli played for Indian Board President’s XI in a four-day tour match against Australia.
Kohli, after recovering from a minor shoulder injury, returned to the national team replacing the injured Gautam Gambhir in the Indian squad for the tri-series in Sri Lanka. He batted at number 4 for India in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy because of an injury to Yuvraj Singh. In the group match against the West Indies, Kohli scored an unbeaten 79 in India’s successful chase of 130 and was awarded man of the match award. Kohli played as a reserve batsman in the seven-match home ODI series against Australia, appearing in two matches. He found a place in the home ODI series against Sri Lanka in December 2009 and scored 27 and 54 in the first two ODIs before making way for Yuvraj who regained fitness for the third ODI. However, Yuvraj’s finger injury recurred leading to him being ruled out indefinitely. Kohli returned to the team in the fourth ODI at Kolkata and scored his first ODI century–107 off 114 balls–sharing a 224-run partnership for the third wicket with Gambhir, who made his personal best score of 150. India won by seven wickets to seal the series 3–1. The man of the match was awarded to Gambhir who gave the award to Kohli.
Tendulkar was rested for the tri-nation ODI tournament in Bangladesh in January 2010, which enabled Kohli to play in each of India’s five matches. Against Bangladesh, he scored 91 to help secure a win after India collapsed to 51/3 early in their run-chase of 297. In the next match against Sri Lanka, Kohli ended unbeaten on 71 to help India win the match with a bonus point having chased down their target of 214 within 33 overs. The next day, he scored his second ODI century, against Bangladesh, bringing up the mark with the winning runs. He became only the third Indian batsman to score two ODI centuries before their 22nd birthday, after Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. Kohli was much praised for his performances during the series in particular by the Indian captain Dhoni. Although Kohli made only two runs in the final against Sri Lanka in a four-wicket Indian defeat, he finished as the leading run-getter of the series with 275 runs from five innings at an average of 91.66. In the three-match ODI series at home against South Africa in February, Kohli batted in two games and had scores of 31 and 57.
Rise through the ranks
Raina was named captain and Kohli vice-captain for the tri-series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe in May–June 2010, as many first-choice players skipped the tour. Kohli made 168 runs at an average of 42.00 including two fifties, but India suffered three defeats in four matches and crashed out of the series. During the series, Kohli became the fastest Indian batsman to reach 1,000 runs in ODI cricket. He made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe at Harare and scored an unbeaten 26. Later that month, Kohli batted at 3 in an Indian team throughout the 2010 Asia Cup and scored a total of 67 runs at an average of 16.75. His struggles with form continued in the tri-series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Sri Lanka where he averaged 15.
Despite the poor run of form, Kohli was retained in the ODI squad for a three-match series against Australia in October, and in the only completed match of the series at Visakhapatnam, scored his third ODI century–118 off 121 balls–which helped India reach the target of 290 after losing the openers early. Winning the man of the match, he admitted that he was under pressure to keep his place in the team after failures in the two previous series. During the home ODI series against New Zealand, Kohli scored a match-winning 104-ball 105, his fourth ODI hundred and second in succession, in the first game, and followed it up with 64 and 63* in the next two matches. India completed a 5–0 whitewash of New Zealand, while Kohli’s performance in the series helped him become a regular in the ODI team and made him a strong contender for a spot in India’s World Cup squad. He was India’s leading run-scorer in ODIs in 2010, with 995 runs from 25 matches at an average of 47.38 including three centuries and seven fifties.
Kohli was India’s leading run-getter in the five-match ODI series of the South African tour in January 2011, with 193 runs at an average of 48.25 including two fifties, both in Indian defeats. During the series, he jumped to number two spot on the ICC Rankings for Men’s ODI batters, and was named in India’s 15-man squad for the World Cup.
Kohli played in every match of India’s successful World Cup campaign. He scored an unbeaten 100, his fifth ODI century, in the first match against Bangladesh and became the first Indian batsman to score a century on World Cup debut. In the next four group matches he had low scores of 8, 34, 12 and 1 against England, Ireland, Netherlands and South Africa respectively. Having returned to form with 59 against the West Indies, he scored only 24 and 9 in the quarter-final against Australia and semi-final against Pakistan respectively. In the final against Sri Lanka at Mumbai, he scored 35, sharing an 83-run partnership with Gambhir for the third wicket after India had lost both openers within the seventh over chasing 275. This partnership is regarded as “one of the turning points in the match”, as India went on to win the match by six wickets and lift the World Cup for the first time since 1983.
Consistent performance in limited overs
When India toured the West Indies in June–July 2011, they selected a largely inexperienced squad, resting Tendulkar and others such as- Gambhir and Sehwag missing out due to injuries. Kohli was one of three uncapped players in the Test squad. He found success in the ODI series which India won 3–2, with a total of 199 runs at an average of 39.80. His best efforts came in the second ODI at Port of Spain where he won the man of the match for his score of 81 which gave India a seven-wicket victory, and the fifth ODI at Kingston where his innings of 94 came in a seven-wicket defeat. Kohli made his Test debut at Kingston in the first match of the Test series that followed. He batted at 5 and was dismissed for 4 and 15 caught behind off the bowling of Fidel Edwards in both innings. India went on to win the Test series 1–0 but Kohli amassed just 76 runs from five innings, struggling against the short ball and was particularly troubled by the fast bowling of Edwards, who dismissed him three times in the series.
Initially dropped from the Test squad for India’s four-match series in England in July and August due to poor performance in his debut series, Kohli was recalled as a replacement for the injured Yuvraj, though he did not got to play in any match in the series. He found moderate success in the subsequent ODI series in which he averaged 38.80. His score of 55 in the first ODI at Chester-le-Street was followed by a string of low scores in the next three matches. In the last game of the series, Kohli scored his sixth ODI hundred–107 runs off 93 balls–and shared a 170-run third-wicket partnership with Rahul Dravid, who was playing his last ODI, to help India post their first 300-plus total of the tour. Kohli was dismissed hit wicket in that innings which was the only century in the series by any player on either team and earned him praise for his “hard work” and “maturity”. However, England won the match by D/L method and the series 3–0.
In October 2011, Kohli was the leading run-scorer of the five-match home ODI series against England which India won 5–0. He scored a total of 270 runs across five matches at an average of 90, including unbeaten knocks of 112 from 98 balls at Delhi, where he put on an unbroken 209-run partnership with Gambhir, and 86 at Mumbai, both in successful run-chases. Owing to his ODI success, Kohli was included in the Test squad to face the West Indies in November. He was selected in the final match of the series in which he scored a pair of fifties in the match. India won the subsequent ODI series 4–1 in which Kohli managed to accumulate 243 runs at 60.75. During the series, Kohli scored his eighth ODI century and his second at Visakhapatnam, where he made 117 off 123 balls in India’s run-chase of 270, a knock which raised his reputation as “an expert of the chase”. Kohli ended up as the leading run-getter in ODIs for the year 2011, with 1381 runs from 34 matches at 47.62 including four centuries and eight fifties.
During tour of Australia in December 2011, Kohli failed to go past 25 in the first two Tests, as his defensive technique was exposed. While fielding on the boundary during the second day of the second match, he gestured to the crowd with his middle finger for which he was fined 50% of his match fee by the match referee. He top-scored in each of India’s innings in the third Test at Perth, with 44 and 75, even as India got their second consecutive innings defeat. In the fourth and final match at Adelaide, Kohli scored his maiden Test century of 116 runs in the first innings. India suffered a 0–4 whitewash and Kohli, India’s top run-scorer in the series, was described as “the lone bright spot in an otherwise nightmare visit for the tourists”.
In the first seven matches of the Commonwealth Bank triangular series that India played against hosts Australia and Sri Lanka, Kohli made two fifties–77 at Perth and 66 at Brisbane–both against Sri Lanka. India registered two wins, a tie and four losses in these seven matches. Being set a target of 321 by Sri Lanka, Kohli came to the crease with India’s score at 86/2 and went on to score 133 not out from 86 balls to take India to a comfortable win with 13 overs to spare. India earned a bonus point with the win and Kohli was named Man of the Match for his knock. Former Australian cricketer and commentator Dean Jones rated Kohli’s innings as “one of the greatest ODI knocks of all time”. However, Sri Lanka beat Australia three days later in their last group fixture and knocked India out of the series. With 373 runs at 53.28, Kohli finished as India’s highest run-scorer and lone centurion of the series.
Kohli was appointed the vice-captain for the 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh on the back of his fine performance in Australia. Kohli was in fine form during the tournament, finishing as the leading run-scorer with 357 runs at an average of 119. He scored 108 in the first match against Sri Lanka in a 50-run Indian victory, while India lost their next match to Bangladesh in which he made 66. In the final group stage match against Pakistan, he scored a personal best 183 off 148 balls, his 11th ODI century. He helped India to chase down 330, their highest successful ODI run-chase at the time. His knock was the highest individual score in Asia Cup history surpassing previous record of 144 by Younis Khan in 2004, the joint-second highest score, with Dhoni, in an ODI run-chase and the highest individual score against Pakistan in ODIs. Kohli was awarded the man of the match in both the matches that India won, but India could not progress to the final of the tournament.
In July–August 2012, Kohli struck two centuries in the five-match ODI tour of Sri Lanka–106 off 113 balls at Hambantota and 128* off 119 balls at Colombo–winning man of the match in both games. India won the series 4–1 and Kohli was named player of the series. In the one-off T20I that followed, he scored a 48-ball 68, his first T20I fifty, and won the player of the series award. Kohli scored his second Test century at Bangalore during New Zealand’s tour of India and won man of the match award. India won the two-match series 2–0, and Kohli averaged 106 with one hundred and two fifties from three innings. In the subsequent T20I series, he scored 70 runs off 41 balls, but India lost the match by one run and the series 1–0. He continued to be in good form during the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, with 185 runs, the highest among Indian batsmen, from 5 matches at an average of 46.25. He hit two fifties during the tournament, against Afghanistan and Pakistan, winning man of the match for both innings. He was named in the ICC ‘Team of the Tournament’.
Kohli’s Test form dipped during the first three matches of England’s tour of India, between October 2012 and January 2013, with a top score of 20 and England leading the series 2–1. He scored a patient 103 from 295 balls in the last match. However, the match ended in a draw and England won their first Test series in India in 28 years. Against Pakistan in December 2012, Kohli averaged 18 in the T20Is and 4.33 in the ODIs, being troubled by the fast bowlers, particularly Junaid Khan, who dismissed him on all three occasions in the ODI series. Kohli had a quiet ODI series against England, apart from a match-winning 77* in the third ODI at Ranchi, with a total of 155 runs at an average of 38.75.
Kohli scored his fourth Test century (107) at Chennai in the first match of the home Test series against Australia in February 2013. India completed a 4–0 series sweep, becoming the first team to whitewash Australia in more than four decades. Kohli averaged 56.80 in the series
In June 2013, Kohli featured in the ICC Champions Trophy in England which India won. He scored a 144 against Sri Lanka in warm-up match. He scored 31, 22 and 22* in India’s group matches against South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan respectively, while India qualified for the semi-finals with an undefeated record. In the semi-final against Sri Lanka at Cardiff, he struck 58* in an eight-wicket win for India. The final between India and England at Birmingham was reduced to 20 overs after a rain delay. India batted first and Kohli top-scored with 43 from 34 balls, sharing a sixth-wicket partnership of 47 runs off 33 balls with Ravindra Jadeja and helping India reach 129/7 in 20 overs. India went on to secure a five-run win and their second consecutive ICC ODI tournament victory. He was also named as part of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ by the ICC.
Kohli stood-in as the captain for the first ODI of the triangular series in the West Indies after Dhoni injured himself during the match. India lost the match by one wicket, and Dhoni was subsequently ruled out of the series with Kohli being named the captain for the remaining matches. In his second match as captain, Kohli scored his first century as captain, making 102 off 83 balls against the West Indies at Port of Spain in a bonus point win for India. Many senior players, including Dhoni, were rested for the five-match ODI tour of Zimbabwe in July 2013, with Kohli being appointed captain for an entire series for the first time. In the first game of the series at Harare, he struck 115 runs from 108 balls, helping India chase down the target of 229 and winning the man of the match award. He batted on two more occasions in the series in which he had scores of 14 and 68*. India completed a 5–0 sweep of the series; their first in an away ODI series.
Kohli had a successful time with the bat in the seven-match ODI series against Australia. After top-scoring with 61 in the opening loss at Pune, he struck the fastest century by an Indian in ODIs in the second match at Jaipur. Reaching the milestone in just 52 balls and putting up an unbroken 186-run second-wicket partnership with Rohit Sharma that came in 17.2 overs, Kohli’s innings of 100* helped India chase down the target of 360 for the loss of one wicket with more than six overs to spare. This chase was the second-highest successful run-chase in ODI cricket at the time, while Kohli’s knock became the fastest century against Australia and the third-fastest in a run-chase. He followed that innings with 68 in the next match at Mohali in another Indian defeat, before the next two matches were washed out by rain. In the sixth ODI at Nagpur, he struck 115 off only 66 balls to help India successfully chase the target of 351 and level the series 2–2 and won the man of the match. He reached the 100-run mark in 61 balls, making it the third-fastest ODI century by an Indian batsman, and also became the fastest batsman in the world to score 17 hundreds in ODI cricket. India clinched the series after winning the last match in which he was run out for a duck. At the conclusion of the series, Kohli moved to the top position in the ICC ODI batsmen rankings for the first time in his career.
Kohli batted twice in the two-match Test series against the West Indies, and had scores of 3 and 57 being dismissed by Shane Shillingford in both innings. This was also the last Test series for Tendulkar and Kohli was expected to take Tendulkar’s number 4 batting position after the series. In the first game of the three-match ODI series that followed at Kochi, Kohli made 86 to seal a six-wicket win and won the man of the match. During the match, he also equalled Viv Richards’ record of becoming the fastest batsman to make 5,000 runs in ODI cricket, reaching the landmark in his 114th innings. He missed out on his third century at Visakhapatnam in the next match, after being dismissed for 99 playing a hook shot off Ravi Rampaul. India lost the match by two wickets, but took the series 2–1 after winning the last match at Kanpur. With 204 runs at 68.00, Kohli finished the series as the leading run-getter and was awarded the man of the series.
India toured South Africa in December 2013 for three ODIs and two Tests. Kohli averaged 15.50 in the ODIs, including a duck. In the first Test at Johannesburg, playing his first Test in South Africa and batting at 4 for the first time, Kohli scored 119 and 96. His hundred was the first by a subcontinent batsman at the venue since 1998. The match ended in a draw, and Kohli was awarded man of the match. India failed to win a single match on the tour, losing the second Test by 10 wickets in which he made 46 and 11.
During New Zealand tour, he averaged 58.21 in the five-match ODI series in which his all efforts went in vain as India were defeated 4–0. He made 214 runs at 71.33 in the two-match Test series that followed including an unbeaten 105 on the last day of the second Test at Wellington that helped India save the match.
India then traveled to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup and World Twenty20. Dhoni was ruled out of the Asia Cup after suffering a side strain during the New Zealand tour, which led to Kohli being named the captain for the tournament. Kohli scored 136 off 122 balls in India’s opening match against Bangladesh, sharing a 213-run third-wicket stand with Ajinkya Rahane, which helped India successfully chase 280. It was his 19th ODI century and his fifth in Bangladesh, making him the batsman with most ODI centuries in Bangladesh. India were knocked out of the tournament after narrow losses against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in which Kohli scored 48 and 5 respectively.
Dhoni returned from injury to captain the team for 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and Kohli was named vice-captain. In India’s opening match of the tournament against Pakistan, Kohli top-scored with 36 not out to guide India to a seven-wicket win. He scored 54 off 41 balls in the next game against West Indies and an unbeaten 57 from 50 balls against Bangladesh, both in successful run-chases. In the semi-final, he made an unbeaten 72 in 44 deliveries to help India achieve the target of 173. He won the man of the match for this knock. India posted 130/4 in the final against Sri Lanka, in which Kohli scored 77 from 58 balls, and eventually lost the match by six wickets. Kohli made a total of 319 runs in the tournament at an average of 106.33, a record for most runs by an individual batsman in a single World Twenty20 tournament, for which he won the Man of the Tournament award.
India conceded a 3–1 defeat in the five-match Test series against England. Kohli fared poorly in the series averaging just 13.40 in 10 innings scoring 134 runs overall with a top score of 39. It was a nightmare tour for him as he was dismissed for single-digit scores on six occasions in the series and was particularly susceptible to the swinging ball on off stump line, being dismissed several times edging the ball to the wicket-keeper or slip fielders. Man of the series James Anderson got Kohli’s wicket four times, while Kohli’s batting technique was questioned by analysts and former cricketers. India won the ODI series that followed 3–1, but Kohli’s struggles with the bat continued with an average of 18 in four innings. In the one-off T20I, he scored 41-ball 66, his first fifty-plus score of the tour. India lost the match by three runs, but Kohli reached the number one spot for T20I batsmen in the ICC rankings.
Kohli had a successful time during India’s home ODI series win over the West Indies in October 2014. His 62 in the second ODI at Delhi was his first fifty across Tests and ODIs in 16 innings since February, and he stated that he got his “confidence back” with the innings. He struck his 20th ODI hundred–127 runs in 114 balls–in the fourth match at Dharamsala. India registered a 59-run victory and Kohli was awarded man of the match. Dhoni was rested for the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in November, enabling Kohli to lead the team for another full series. Kohli batted at 4 throughout the series and made scores of 22, 49, 53 and 66 in the first four ODIs, with India leading the series 4–0. In the fifth ODI at Ranchi, he made an unbeaten 139 off 126 balls to give his team a three-wicket win and a whitewash of Sri Lanka. Kohli was awarded player of the series, and it was the second whitewash under his captaincy. During the series he became the fastest batter in the world to go past the 6000-run mark in ODIs. With 1054 ODI runs at 58.55 in 2014, he became the second player in the world after Sourav Ganguly to make more than 1,000 runs in ODIs for four consecutive calendar years.
For the first Test of the Australian tour in December 2014, Dhoni was not part of the Indian team at Adelaide due to an injury, and Kohli took the reins as Test captain for the first time. Kohli scored 115 in India’s first innings, becoming the fourth Indian to score a hundred on Test captaincy debut. In their second innings, India were set a target of 364 to be scored on the fifth day. Kohli put on 185 runs for the third wicket with Murali Vijay before Vijay’s dismissal, which triggered a batting collapse. From 242/2, India was bowled out for 315 with Kohli’s 141 off 175 balls being the top score.
Dhoni returned to the team as captain for the second match at Brisbane where Kohli scored 19 and 1 in a four-wicket defeat for India. In the Melbourne Boxing Day Test, he made his personal best Test score of 169 in the first innings while sharing a 262-run partnership with Rahane, India’s biggest partnership outside Asia in ten years. Kohli followed it with a score of 54 in India’s second innings on the fifth day, helping his team draw the Test match. Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket at the conclusion of this match, and Kohli was appointed as the full-time Test captain ahead of the fourth Test at Sydney. Captaining the Test team for the second time, Kohli hit 147 in the first innings of the match and became the first batsman in Test cricket history to score three hundreds in his first three innings as Test captain. He was dismissed for 46 in the second innings and the match ended in a draw. Kohli’s total of 692 runs in four Tests was the most by any Indian batsman in a Test series in Australia.
In January 2015, India failed to win a single match in the tri-nation ODI series against the hosts Australia and England. Kohli was unable to replicate his Test success in ODIs, failing to make a two-digit score in any of the four games. Kohli’s ODI form did not improve in the lead-up to the World Cup, with scores of 18 and 5 in the warm-up matches against Australia and Afghanistan respectively.
Kohli batting against the UAE in Perth during a group stage match of the 2015 World Cup
In the first match of the World Cup against Pakistan at Adelaide, Kohli hit 107 in 126 balls. For his knock, he was awarded the man of the match award. Kohli also became first Indian batsman to score a century against Pakistan in a World Cup match. He was dismissed for 46 in India’s second match against South Africa. India went on to register a 130-run victory in the match. India batted second in their remaining four group matches in which Kohli scored 33*, 33, 44* and 38 against UAE, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe respectively. India went on to secure wins in these four fixtures and top the Pool B points with an undefeated record. In India’s 109-run victory in the quarter-final over Bangladesh, Kohli was dismissed by Rubel Hossain for 3, edging the ball to the wicket-keeper. India was eliminated in the semi-final by Australia at Melbourne, where Kohli was dismissed for 1 off 13 balls, top-edging a short-pitched delivery from Mitchell Johnson.
Kohli had a slump in form when India toured Bangladesh in June 2015. He contributed only 14 in the one-off Test which ended in a draw and averaged 16.33 in the ODI series which Bangladesh won 2–1. Kohli ended his streak of low scores by scoring his 11th Test hundred in the first Test of the Sri Lankan tour which India lost. India won the next two matches to seal the series 2–1, Kohli’s first series win as Test captain and India’s first away Test series win in four years.
During South Africa’s tour of India, Kohli became the fastest batsman in the world to make 1,000 runs in T20I cricket, reaching the milestone in his 27th innings. In the ODI series, he made a century in the fourth ODI at Chennai that helped India draw level in the series. India lost the series after a defeat in the final ODI and Kohli finished the series with an average of 49. India came back to beat the top-ranked South African team 3–0 in the four-match Test series under Kohli’s captaincy, and climbed to number two position on the ICC Test rankings. Virat scored a total of 200 runs in the series at 33.33.
No. 1 Test team and limited-overs captaincy
Kohli started 2016 with scores of 91 and 59 in the first two ODIs of the limited-overs tour of Australia. He followed it up with a pair of hundreds–a run-a-ball 117 at Melbourne and 106 from 92 balls at Canberra. During the course of the series, he became the fastest batsman in the world to cross the 7000-run mark in ODIs, getting to the milestone in his 161st innings, and the fastest to get to 25 centuries. After the ODI series ended in a 1–4 loss, the Indian team came back to whitewash the Australians 3–0 in the T20I series. Kohli made fifties in all three T20Is with scores of 90*, 59* and 50, winning two man of the matches as well as the man of the series award. He was also instrumental in India winning the Asia Cup in Bangladesh the following month in which he scored 49 in a run-chase of 84 against Pakistan, followed by an unbeaten 56 against Sri Lanka and 41 not out in the Final against Bangladesh.
Kohli maintained his form in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India, scoring 55* in another successful run-chase against Pakistan. He struck an unbeaten 82 from 51 balls in India’s must-win group match against Australia in “an innings of sheer class” with “clean cricket shots”. It helped India win by six wickets and register a spot in the semi-final; Kohli went on to rate the innings as his best in the format. In the semi-final, Kohli top-scored with an unbeaten 89 from 47 deliveries, but West Indies overhauled India’s total of 192 and ended India’s campaign. His total of 273 runs in five matches at an average of 136.50 earned him his second consecutive Man of the Tournament award at the World Twenty20. He was named as captain of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2016 World Twenty20 by the ICC.
Playing his first Test in the West Indies since his debut series, Kohli scored 200 in the first Test at Antigua to ensure an innings-and-92-run win for India, their biggest win ever outside of Asia. It was his first double hundred in first-class cricket and the first made away from home by an Indian captain in Tests. India went on to wrap the series 2–0 and briefly top the ICC Test Rankings before being displaced by Pakistan at the position. He scored another double hundred–211 at Indore in the third Test against New Zealand–as India’s 3–0 whitewash victory saw them regain the top position in the ICC Test Rankings. In the subsequent ODI series, Kohli set up two wins for India batting second with unbeaten knocks of 85 and 154. He then made 65 in the series-deciding fifth game at Visakhapatnam which India won.
Kohli got double centuries in the next two Test series against England and Bangladesh, making him the first batsman ever to score double centuries in four consecutive series. He broke the record of Australian great Donald Bradman and Rahul Dravid, both of whom had managed to get three. Against England, he got his then-highest Test score of 235.
10,000 runs in ODIs before age of 30
He followed it up with ODI centuries against the West Indies and Sri Lanka in consecutive series, equalling Ricky Ponting’s tally of 30 ODI centuries. In October 2017, he was adjudged the ODI player of the series against New Zealand for scoring two ODI centuries, during the course of which he made a new record for the most runs (8,888), best average (55.55) and highest number of centuries (31) for any batsman when completing 200 ODIs. Kohli made several more records during the 3 match Test series against Sri Lanka at home in November. After scoring a century and a double century in the first two Tests, he ended up scoring yet another double century in the third Test, during which he became the eleventh Indian batsman to surpass 5000 runs in Test cricket while scoring his 20th Test century and 6th double century. During this match he also became the first batsman to score six double hundreds as a captain. With 610 runs in the series, Kohli also became the highest run-scorer by an Indian in a three-match Test series and the fourth-highest overall. India comfortably won the three-match series 1–0 and Kohli was adjudged man of the match for the second and third Test matches and player of the series. With this win, India equaled Australia for the record streak of nine consecutive series wins in Test cricket. He ended the year with 2818 international runs, which is recorded as the third-highest tally ever in a calendar year and the highest tally ever by an Indian player. The ICC named Kohli as captain of both their World Test XI and ODI XI for 2017.
Overseas season-including Windies at home
Kohli fielding in a Test match against England at Trent Bridge in 2018
Kohli had a fared average in the Test matches as India lost 1–2 during the South Africa tour in 2018, but came back strongly to score 558 runs in the 6 ODIs, making a record for the highest runs scored in a bilateral ODI series. This included three centuries, remaining unbeaten in two with a best of 160*. India won the ODI series 5–1, Kohli becoming the first Indian captain to win an ODI series in South Africa.
In March 2018, Kohli played county cricket in England in June, in order to improve his batting before the start of India’s tour to England the following month. He signed to play for Surrey, but a neck injury ruled him out of his stint in England before it even began. On 2 August, Kohli scored his first Test century on English soil in the first test match of the series against England. On 5 August, Kohli displaced Steve Smith to become the No. 1 ranked Test batsman in the ICC Test rankings. He also became the seventh Indian batsman and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011 to achieve this feat. In the third test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Kohli scored 97 and 103, and helped India win by 203 runs. At the end of 5-match test series, Kohli scored 593 runs, which was third highest runs by an Indian batsman in a losing test series. Kohli’s consistent performance in the series against the moving ball when other batsman failed to perform was hailed by British Media as one of his finest. The Guardian describes Kohli’s batting display as One of the Greatest batting display in a losing cause.
During ODI series against West Indies in 2018, Kohli became the 12th batsman and fastest player to score 10,000 ODI runs. He surpassed the milestone with 205 innings which is 54 innings less than the next quickest to the landmark, Sachin Tendulkar. In the course he scored his 37th ODI century. On 27 October, after scoring his 38th ODI century, Kohli became the first batsman for India, first captain and tenth overall, to score three successive centuries in ODIs. He ended up scoring 453 runs in 5 innings, at an average of 151.00, in the 5-match series and was the Player of the Series.
On 16 December 2018 in the 2018-2019 Border Gavaskar Trophy, Kohli scored his 25th test hundred in Perth. His knock of 123 was his 6th hundred in three tours to Australia making him the only Indian to score 6 test hundreds in Australia after Sachin Tendulkar. He also became the fastest Indian and second fastest overall (125 innings) to score 25 test hundreds, second only to Donald Bradman (68 innings) which was bettered by Steven Smith during 2019 Ashes (119 innings). Kohli’s knock was rated by several analysts and former cricketers as one of his finest against a quality Australian attack. Although he broke several records in the game, his innings proved to insufficient as India went down by 146 runs as Australia levelled the series with two tests remaining. Overall, he finished the series with 282 runs at an average of 40. By winning the test series in Australia, he had become the first Indian and also the first Asian skipper to win a test series in Australia. He was again named as captain of both the World Test XI and ODI XI for 2018 by the ICC.
Captaining India in ICC events
2017 ICC Champions Trophy
Virat Kohli got the chance to captain in an ICC tournament for the first time in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. In the semi-final against Bangladesh, Kohli scored 96*, thus becoming the fastest batsman, in terms of innings, to reach 8,000 runs in ODIs in 175 innings. India reached the final, but lost to Pakistan by 180 runs. In the third over of Indian innings, Virat Kohli was dropped in the slips for just five runs but caught the next ball by Shadab Khan at point on the bowling of Mohammad Amir. He was also named as part of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ at the 2017 Champions Trophy by the ICC.
2019 Cricket World Cup
In April 2019, he was named the captain of India’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 16 June 2019, in India’s match against Pakistan, Kohli became the fastest batsman, in terms of innings, to score 11,000 runs in ODI cricket. He reached the landmark in his 222nd innings. Eleven days later, in the match against the West Indies, Kohli became the fastest cricketer, in terms of innings, to score 20,000 runs in international cricket, doing so in his 417th innings. Kohli scored five consecutive fifty plus score in the tournament. India lost the semi-final against New Zealand, in which Kohli was out for just a run.
2021 ICC World Test Championship Final
In June 2021, India lost the 2021 ICC World Test Championship Final to New Zealand. This was Kohli’s third defeat as captain in knockouts and finals of ICC tournaments. Virat Kohli scored 44 and 13 runs in the 1st and 2nd innings respectively.
2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
In September 2021, Kohli was named as the captain of India’s squad for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. India could not make it through the semi-finals, which was the first time in the past 9 years.
In October 2019, Kohli captained India for the 50th time in Test cricket, in the second Test against South Africa. In the first innings of the match, Kohli scored an unbeaten 254 runs, passing 7,000 runs in Tests in the process, and became the first batsman for India to score seven double centuries in Test cricket. In November 2019, during the day/night Test match against Bangladesh, Kohli became the fastest captain to score 5,000 runs in Test cricket, doing so in his 86th innings. In the same match, he also scored his 70th century in international cricket.
Poor form across formats
Disastrous tour of New Zealand
India toured to New Zealand from January to March 2020 to play 5-match T20 series along with a 3 and 2-match ODI and test series respectively. During the tour, Kohli badly struggled against the moving ball on tricky New Zealand pitches throughout the tour making the tour as his worst ever after the England tour in 2014. During the entire tour he only managed 218 across formats in 12 innings at an average of 19.81 with one half-century during first ODI. This was his lowest aggregate of runs in a tour where he played in all formats. India managed to win the T20I series 5–0. However Kohli-led side was badly hammered during the ODI and Test leg of the tour losing 3-0 and 2-0 respectively. This was also India’s first whitewash under Kohli’s captaincy.
India’s tour of Australia and home series versus England
Main articles: Indian cricket team in Australia in 2020–21 and English cricket team in India in 2020–21
India travelled to Australia during November 2020 till January 2021 for a long tour. During the ODI Series, Kohli managed to score two half-centuries in three innings with a aggregate of 173 runs at an average of 57.67 despite this India lost the series 2–1. Also in November, Kohli played in his 250th ODI match, in the second match against Australia. However, India bounced backed strongly and clinch the T20I series 2–1 with Kohli being the highest run scorer in the series for India (134 runs at 44.37). During the first test of the tour played as Day/night match at Adelaide, Kohli scored a fluent 74 before being run out. However he only managed 4 runs in next innings where India scrambled to 36/9, their lowest ever score in Test cricket history. After the 1st Test, Kohli left the tour on paternity leave as he was expecting the birth of his first child. He received mixed responses for his decision. Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar along with Kapil Dev slammed Kohli for leaving the tour after the Indian team lost the 1st Test in Adelaide. Gavaskar slammed the double standard of BCCI for Kohli getting the paternity leave while T. Natarajan wasn’t allowed for the same. Despite his absence India managed to clinch the test series 2–1 under the able leadership of stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. The Daily Telegraph described India’s recovery as one of the great comebacks in cricket history.
In November 2020, Kohli was nominated for the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade, as well as Test, ODI and T20I player of the decade and won two(Male cricketer of the decade and ODI cricketer of the decade).
The England tour of India begin with a long 4-match Test series. Kohli struggled to find his form through the series as he managed 172 runs across 4 Test matches at an average of 28.66 with 2 half-centuries and 2 ducks. This was also the first time Kohli got out for two ducks in a Test series after his disastrous tour of England in 2014. However, during the second test at Chepauk, Kohli scored a crucial 62 on a minefield of a pitch which English batting great Geoffrey Boycott described as a template to bat and score runs on a turning pitch.
Kohli got out for a duck again in the 1st T20I of a 5-match series. However, he found his form in the latter part of the series and ended the series as the highest run-scorer from both sides with 231 runs to his name and 3 half-centuries at an average of 115.50 as India clinched the series 3–2. Kohli was adjudged as the Man of the Series for his performances. During the second T20I, Kohli became the first ever batsman to complete 3,000 runs in the format.
In the 3-match ODI series, Kohli managed to score 129 runs in 3 innings with 2 half-centuries at a moderate average of 43.00 as India won the series 2–1. During the 2nd ODI, Kohli became the second batsman after Ricky Ponting to score 10,000 runs batting at number 3.
Tour of England and South Africa
Indian cricket team toured England in 2021 for a 5-match test series. During the 1st innings of the first test, Kohli got dismissed for a golden duck by James Anderson. Kohli managed to score 2 fifties in the next 6 innings he played. He has scored a total of 218 runs in the first four matches of the series, with an average of 31.14. The fifth test of the series is yet to played.
Indian cricket team toured South Africa in late 2021 and early 2022 for a 3-match test series and a 3-match ODI series. Kohli managed to score 161 runs in the 4 innings of test series he played, averaging at 40.25. He could not play 2nd test of the series due to an injury. India lost the series by 2-1, despite winning the first test.
In the ODI series, Kohli scored 116 runs in 3 innings, including two fifties, with an average of 38.66. South Africa won all three matches, thus whitewashing India.
Retirement from captaincy across all formats
In September 2021, Kohli announced that he would step down as India’s T20I captain following the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup .
In December 2021, Kohli was replaced by Rohit Sharma as India’s ODI captain. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly later explained the decision to drop Kohli as ODI captain by saying that the selectors did not feel right to have two white ball captains. Later Ganguly said that BCCI had told Virat to not step down as T20I captain. Virat Kohli, during a press conference, contradicted the BCCI President and said that his decision of stepping down as captain was “received well” and termed as “progressive” by the BCCI officials. He also claimed that chief selector Chetan Sharma informed him 90-minutes before the announcement of the Test squad for India’s tour of South Africa, about the removal from ODI captaincy. More than a week later, during the announcement of squad for ODI series versus South Africa, Chetan Sharma contradicted Kohli by saying that officials had asked Virat to reconsider his decision of stepping down as T20I captain.
On 15 January 2022, Kohli stepped down as India’s Test captain, following the 2–1 test series defeat against South Africa during the India’s Tour of South Africa.
Indian Premier League
Kohli was bought by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for $30,000 on a youth contract. He was the captain of Royal challengers Bangalore for 8 seasons but could not win a trophy.
Kohli had an poor 2008 season, with a total of 165 runs in 12 innings at an average of 15.00 and a strike rate of 105.09. He did slightly better in the second season in which he made a total of 246 runs at 22.36, striking at over 112, while his team made it as far as the final. In the 2010 season, Kohli was the third highest run-getter for his team with 307 runs, averaging 27.90 and improving his strike rate to 144.81.
Kohli was the second-highest run-getter of the season, only behind teammate Chris Gayle, and his team finished as runners-up. Kohli scored total 557 runs at an average of 46.41 and at the strike rate of over 121 including four fifties. In the 2012 IPL, he averaged 28 and scored 364 runs.
During 2013 season, Kohli averaged 45.28 and hit a total of 634 runs at a strike rate of over 138 including six fifties and a top-score of 99 and finished as the season’s third-highest run-scorer.
Bangalore finished seventh in the next season in which Kohli made 359 runs at 27.61. He found success with the bat in the 2015 IPL in which he led his team to the playoffs. He finished fifth on the season’s leading run-getters list with 505 runs at an average of 45.90 and a strike rate of more than 130.
At the 2016 IPL, the Royal Challengers finished runners-up and Kohli broke the record for most runs in an IPL season (of 733 runs) by scoring 973 runs in 16 matches at an average of 81.08, winning the Orange Cap as well as Most-valuable Player Award of Vivo IPL 2016. He scored four centuries in the tournament, having never scored one in the Twenty20 format before the start of the season, and also became the first player to reach the 4000-run milestone in the IPL. At the launch event of his biography, ‘Driven: The Virat Kohli Story’ in New Delhi, in October 2016, Kohli announced that RCB would be the IPL franchise that he would permanently play for.
Kohli missed the start of the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury. Moreover, RCB finished the tournament at the bottom of the table, with Kohli scoring the most runs for his team, with 308 from 10 matches. On the occasion of the 10 year anniversary of IPL, he was also named in the all-time Cricinfo IPL XI.
In the 2018 season, Kohli was retained by RCB for a price of ₹170 million (US$2.3 million), the highest for any player that year. Kohli scored 530 runs in the season and became the first batsman to score more than 500 runs in 5 different seasons. Moreover, RCB failed to qualify for Playoffs and finished sixth on the points table.
On 28 March 2019, Kohli became the second player to reach 5000 IPL runs after Suresh Raina. In the same season, Kohli surpassed Raina to become leading runs scorer in IPL when he scored 84 runs in a match against KKR.
On 22 April 2021, against Rajasthan Royals, Kohli became the first ever player to reach 6000 IPL Runs. On 20 September, Royal Challengers Bangalore announced that Kohli would step down as captain following the 2021 IPL season.
Kohli playing his famous flick shot in CWC 2015
Kohli is a naturally aggressive batsman with strong technical skills. He usually bats at the no.3 position in ODI cricket. He bats with a slightly open-chested stance and a strong bottom-hand grip. He is not a big hitter and plays more grounded shots. He is known for his wide range of shots, ability to pace an innings and batting under pressure. He is strong through the mid-wicket and cover region. He has said that the cover drive is his favourite shot, while also saying that the flick shot comes naturally to him. He does not play the sweep shot often, being called “not a natural sweeper of the cricket ball”. Kohli is strong on leg stump line bowling. If bowled at leg stump he plays flick shot.
According to cricket pundit VVS Laxman, for Virat Kohli, balling line outside the off stump is his weakness. He got out many times by outside off stump line ball and opposition team’s bowlers tries to exploit his weakness in Test as well as ODIs. Out swinging balls his one of the weakness as per Richard Hadlee.
His teammates have praised his confidence, commitment, focus and work ethics. Kohli is also known to be a “sharp” fielder.
Kohli is regarded as the best limited-overs batsman in the world, especially while chasing. In ODIs, he averages around 69 in matches batting second as opposed to around 51 batting first. 26 of his 43 ODI hundreds have come in run-chases and he holds the record for most hundreds batting second.
Kohli is noted for his on-field aggression and was described in the media as “brash” and “arrogant” during his early career. He has got into confrontations with players and umpires on several occasions. While many former cricketers have backed his aggressive attitude, some have criticised it. In 2012, Kohli had stated that he tries to limit his aggressive behaviour but “the build-up and the pressure or the special occasions make it tough to control the aggression.”
Comparisons to Sachin Tendulkar
Kohli is often compared to Sachin Tendulkar, due to their similar styles of batting, and sometimes referred to as Tendulkar’s “successor”. Many former cricketers expect Kohli to break Tendulkar’s batting records. He is ranked as one of the world’s most famous athletes by ESPN Kohli has stated that growing up his idol and role model was Tendulkar and that as a kid he “tried to copy the shots [Tendulkar] played and hit sixes the way he used to hit them.” Former West Indies great Vivian Richards, who is regarded as the most destructive batsman in cricket, stated that Kohli reminds him of himself. In early 2015, Richards said Kohli was “already legendary” in the ODI format, while former Australian cricketer Dean Jones called Kohli the “new king of world cricket”. Aakash Chopra, an Indian commentator, stated that “Sachin had more shots as compared to Virat”.
Main article: List of international cricket centuries by Virat Kohli
As of December 2021, Kohli has made 70 centuries and 7 double centuries in international cricket—27 centuries, 7 double centuries in Test cricket and 43 centuries in One Day Internationals (ODIs)