“Return Gift”: Virat Kohli’s Heartwarming Take On Equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s Huge Record

Virat Kohli in action for the Indian cricket team during Cricket World Cup 2023© AFP

Indian cricket team star batter Virat Kohli has been enjoying a sensational run of form during the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2023. Kohli has scored 543 runs in 8 matches with the help of 4 half-centuries and 2 centuries. The last century was extra special as he equalled legendary India batter Sachin Tendulkar‘s record of scoring the highest number of centuries in ODI cricket (49). Following the match, Kohli opened up about the experience of achieving such a massive milestone in a video posted by the BCCI on social media and made it clear that in his eyes, Sachin will always remain ‘Number 1’ regardless of statistics.

“Quite an emotional thing for me. I mean, I grew up idolising him, I started to play for India watching him play and just to equal his record in ODIs is a surreal moment for me. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’ll get here, so I just feel blessed and grateful. As I said in the post match, for me, he is always going to be number one, regardless of whatever happens,” Kohli said.

“I’m just happy that my journey has come so far that I’ve been able to make it till here and be able to win games for my country like he did. I aspire to do the same thing because if I do that, then it means that we have good chances of winning. So I would love to do it a few more times in this tournament. Especially the big ones – the semis and final. So yeah, fingers crossed. Hopefully I can do it.”

Kohli’s form has been instrumental in making India the only unbeaten side in the competition with just one match remaining in the group stage. The 49th ODI ton came against South Africa at the Eden Gardens on Kohli’s 35th birthday and the star batter believes that it was a ‘return gift’ from his side.

“I’m much happier to be in this position where I’m not receiving gifts, but rather I play well and make everyone else happy because it gets a little too much to be able to take wishes and gifts on my birthday. I’ve never quite been the guy who gets very excited for my birthday so I’m just happy to play this way. We’ve won and everyone got happy. A return gift from me on my birthday,” he concluded.

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