Today, Virat Kohli is the undoubted king of ODI batting and one of the best in Test cricket also. He has now established himself as one of the greats of Indian cricket. While the rise of Virat started in 2009 when he scored a hundred against Sri Lanka in an ODI, do you remember the innings which convinced every one of his quality as a Test batsman?
Most of you would probably not. There are two good reasons for it. Firstly, it wasn't a big innings, not even a half-century. Secondly, it came in a losing cause and hence, not very valuable in the end to his team.
For this innings, we will have to go back to January 2012. By that time, while the current Indian captain had established himself as one of the most prolific run-makers in ODI cricket, his career in the longest format was still under doubt.
Virat made his Test debut in West Indies during India's tour of that region in 2011, shortly after that year's Indian Premier League (IPL). But contrary to expectations, Virat's performance in the three Tests of the series played between the hosts and India was highly disappointing. As a result, he wasn't picked in the team for the Test series in England afterwards.
Virat's next Test was at Mumbai against West Indies where he got half-centuries in both innings but failed to turn them into big knocks. He was picked for the upcoming Test series in Australia. In the first two matches of that series, at Melbourne and Sydney respectively, Virat failed and questions were being raised as to whether he deserves to be in the Indian Test side.
The third Test of this series was played at Perth from January 13-15. India were put into bat first by the Australians on a fast and bouncy wicket. As was the case throughout that horrible series for India, the Aussie bowlers ran through the Indian batting order and bowled the visiting team out for 161.
But amidst all the gloominess of that innings, there was one bright spark for India, it was Kohli's batting. On a pitch where Indian batsmen struggled, Virat looked completely at ease and displayed that one quality which great batsmen seem to possess – having extra time to play the ball.
Unfortunately for the boy from Delhi, he threw his wicket away when batting on 44. But that innings showed that there was genuine talent in Kohli and he deserves to be persisted with. More proof of the future captain's potential was to come in the second innings where he scored 75.
It can be said with quite a lot of confidence that even if Kohli had failed in the second innings, he would still have remained in the Indian team. His knock of 44 had so much class and quality that dropping him would have been ridiculous. As it happened, in the very next Test at Adelaide, Kohli scored his first Test hundred. Since then, he hasn't looked back and gone from strength to strength to achieve greatness.