Virat Kohli dedicates 71st international century to Anushka Sharma, daughter Vamika: Standing here because of her


Guwahati: Virat Kohli brought up his 71st century against Afghanistan in the Super Four encounter in Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday that helped India to post a massive total of 212 for 2 at the end of their innings.

An emotional Virat Kohli dedicated his 71st international century to his wife Anushka Sharma and daughter Vamika as the cricket world started celebrating the end of a long wait for a 3-figure score from the former captain. Kohli scored a 61-ball 122 not out against Afghanistan in an Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 match, ending a 1020-day wait which became one of the biggest talking points in the Indian cricket community.

Virat Kohli said it was his wife Anushka Sharma who helped him put things into perspective as he took a brief break in the lead-up to the Asia Cup after a turbulent career phase in which he went through an extended lean patch and stepped down as captain across all formats of the game.

“I know there was a lot of stuff going on on the outside but they really kept my perspective right and I kissed my ring in the celebrations as well. You see me standing like this right now and all the things being put in perspective have been done by one person, who stood by me through all these difficult times that is Anushka,” Virat Kohli told after hitting 6 sixes and 12 boundaries in Dubai.

“This hundred is specially dedicated to her and our little daughter Vamika as well. When you have someone next to you, having conversations, putting the things in right perspective like I have been and Anushka has been by my side through these times, time away from the game has thought me a lot of things.”

Before Thursday, Kohli last hit a hundred in international cricket in November 2019 in a pink-ball Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Kohli had looked set to overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s stunning tally of 100 international hundreds but a lean patch that extended for over 3 years slowed down his charge.

Questions were asked about Virat Kohli’s place in the T20I side in the lead-up to the Asia Cup. Before the continental tournament in the UAE, Kohli managed just 81 runs in 4 T20Is in 2022 but the team management and the selectors paid faith in him, picking him in the 15-man squad for Asia Cup 2022.

Virat Kohli finished his campaign in the Asia Cup with a hundred and 2 fifties, taking his tally to 276 runs in 5 matches in the UAE. Kohli’s 122 was also India’s highest individual score in T20Is, going past Rohit Sharma’s 118, while he also became the oldest Indian to hit a T20I hundred.

Unlike the Kohli of the past, the former captain did not punch the air in delight but looked up to the night sky and wore a surprised look on his face as he went past the 3-figure mark. Kohli was more relieved than elated as he acknowledged the support from the dressing room and the applause from the Dubai crowd.

Asked about his muted celebration, Kohli said: “Feel very blessed, very grateful right now. The last two and half years have taught me a lot. I am going to turn 34 in November, so the celebrations are for the past.

“I have put a lot of things into perspective. I was a bit shocked as this was the format I least expected for a century to come any time soon. It is all God’s blessing. I have been working hard and this was just a moment that was very special for me and the team as well. It was an accumulation of a lot of things.”

Kohli stressed that the team management was supportive when he returned from the break and that the time away from the game helped him become calmer and regain focus.

“When I came back I was not desperate. After six weeks off I was refreshed. I realised how tired I was. Competitiveness doesn’t allow it, but this break allowed me enjoy the game again,” he added.