Virat Kohli raises his bat after scoring his century. (AFP Photo)
Virat Kohli sealed his reputation as modern cricket's enfant terrible with his captain's knock of 115 off 108 balls, becoming the fastest man to score 15 tons in international cricket.
What makes the feat more impressive is the fact that he was the stand in captain in the game after regular captain MS Dhoni was ruled out after suffering a hamstring strain in the Caribbean.
Many have succumbed to the pressure but Kohli proved he is cut from a different cloth. Kohli’s 115 (108b, 13x4, 1x6) in the first ODI, which helped India chase down Zimbabwe’s 228 with 31 balls to spare and six wickets remaining, showed how far he has come in his bright career.
To put matters in perspective, here are the people who have held the record earlier.
While Saeed Anwar, whose record Kohli broke, required 143 one-day matches to score his first 15 centuries, Wednesday's match was Kohli's 106th game. India's greatest batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, scored his 15th one-day century in his 182nd match.
His Delhi teammate and the original swashbuckler of the team, Virender Sehwag, opening the batting, needed 251 games to make that many hundreds.
Although it wouldn’t be fair to such draw comparisons, the numbers just illustrate how rapidly Kohli has grown into a match-winner and an appropriate candidate to take over the reins from Dhoni.
"Virat is playing the best cricket possible and I feel he's the best player in the world in the one-day format right now, so it made it a lot easier for me to bat with him," said debutant Ambati Rayudu, who shared in a 159-run stand for the third wicket after openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were dismissed relatively cheaply.
Meanwhile fans and experts alike heaped praise on the Delhi lad, many likening him to Sachin and hoping the Master Blaster's records will someday be his to hold.
(With inputs from Sahan Bidappa and AP)