Virat Kohli has had his reputation as cricket’s biggest superstar reaffirmed by TIME Magazine, which has included the India captain on its ‘100 Most Influential People‘ list for 2018.
Kohli is one of six sportspeople to make the prestigious list, but one of only two from outside the United States; he sits alongside Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer, as well as American quartet Kevin Durant (basketball), Chloe Kim (snowboarding), Adam Rippon (figure skating) and JJ Watt (American football).
The 29-year-old is the world’s top ranked ODI batsman and in 2017 scored the third-most runs in history across all three formats for a calendar year; his 2,818 runs, which included 11 hundreds, sits only behind Kumar Sangakkara (2014) and Ricky Ponting (2005).
The calendar year also included Test series triumphs over Australia and Bangladesh, as well as Sri Lanka twice, while India also reached the Champions Trophy final, and won ODI series against England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar penned a Kohli tribute for TIME, explaining that a decade ago he knew he was witnessing the rise of a “remarkable” player.
“The U19 World Cup in 2008 was very important for India, as it would define the next bunch of youngsters who would go on to represent the nation,” Tendulkar wrote.
That was the first time I watched this young, passionate player lead India.
“Today Virat Kohli is a household name and a champion in cricket. Even back then, his hunger for runs and consistency was remarkable, something that has become the hallmark of his game.
“Every sportsman knows what it’s like to have good spells and bad ones too.
“Virat took the criticism he faced during a disappointing West Indies series (in 2016) and returned home with a goal: to improve not only his technique, but also his fitness level. He’s never looked back.
“My father always told me that if I focused on what I was doing, over time, detractors would become followers.
“Virat seems to have a similar outlook when it comes to his game.”
Kohli’s next challenge looms this northern summer against England, with India set for a five-Test series in August-September. It presents an opportunity for the brilliant right-hander to correct a glaring blot on his copybook; in 10 innings in England, he has a top score of 39 and averages just 13.40. (Courtesy www.cricket.com.au)