Virat Kohli’s innings of 122, in the incredible chase against England in the first ODI on Sunday, has shattered records and earned praise from across the cricketing world. The biggest testament to Kohli’s stature and performance as a player and skipper is when the praise comes from the opposition camp. After his innings in the India vs England 1st ODI in Pune, former and current England players applauded Kohli, with a former England skipper even calling him the Cristiano Ronaldo of cricket.
Chasing England’s 351 for victory, India stuttered at the start and were reduced to 63/4. Enter Virat Kohli, playing his first match as full-time captain of the India national cricket team across all formats after taking over the ODI captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kohli’s innings was class and aggression personified as he slammed yet another century, his 27th overall, while at the same time guided a young Kedar Jadhav, who smashed his second century.
Kohli and Jadhav’s 200-run partnership helped India chase down a total of 350-plus for the third time, all in the last three years in ODIs, and all in India. He also surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 14 centuries in successful chases.
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain compared Kohli to Real Madrid and Portugal football star Cristiano Ronaldo while giving his analysis on Sky Sports.
“I think what Kohli is trying to do is push the boundary and raise the bar of everything he does,” said Hussain. No-one says to him ‘being captain in three forms is too much for you’, no one says ‘you can chase 300 but can you chase 350 from 63-4?’
“I read out here that he prefers [Cristiano] Ronaldo to [Lionel] Messi. Messi was given a lot of natural ability but he prefers Ronaldo, who has made himself the footballer that he is and pushed himself on and off football pitch -- and that is what Kohli has done in cricketing terms,” added Hussain.
Another former England skipper, Michael Vaughan, felt Kohli is from another planet, tweeting out his excitement while watching a sublime Indian skipper in full flight, even though it was against his country.
VIRAT KOHLI IS FROM ANOTHER PLANET #Fact— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 15, 2017
Best Test player ... KOHLI Best ODI player ... KOHLI. Best T20 player ... KOHLI— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 15, 2017
England skipper Eoin Morgan said after the match that Kohli is “fantastic” and that it was proven yet again in Pune.
“There is always something you can do even when he’s (Kohli is) in and at times the plans weren’t too far from working,” he said. “There was a ball that just went over (Alex) Halesy’s head... on another day that goes to hand, they’re five down and we’re into them. But he’s a fantastic player and he’s proved that over a long period of time.”