As the cricket world eagerly awaits the ICC World Cup, Indian skipper Virat Kohli stands out as a formidable force on the pitch despite his age. In a sport where many star players have bid farewell at the age of 34, Kohli, at 34, is still in top form, ready to lead India’s charge in the upcoming tournament.
Kohli, a cricketing luminary who has achieved nearly every accolade the sport has to offer, continues to be India’s go-to batsman across all formats. Recently, he marked his return to the One Day International (ODI) format with a record-breaking century against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Asia Cup. Kohli’s prolific performances were instrumental in India clinching the Asia Cup, where they outplayed teams like Pakistan and Sri Lanka in a stellar display just ahead of the World Cup.
Having been rested for the first two games of the three-match series against Australia, Kohli is set to return to the ODI format in India’s final 50-over fixture before the ICC World Cup 2023. Speculation has arisen whether a World Cup victory on home soil might prompt Kohli to contemplate retirement from the ODI format.
South African cricket legend AB de Villiers, who shares the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) dressing room experience with Kohli during their Indian Premier League (IPL) days, has weighed in on the matter. De Villiers retired from all forms of cricket at the age of 37 after a remarkable career spanning Tests, ODIs, T20Is, and IPL games.
De Villiers suggested, “I know he loves traveling to South Africa (for the 2027 World Cup), but it’s very difficult to say. It is a long time away. Let’s focus on this one first, I think that’s what Virat Kohli would tell you. I think if they win this World Cup, it might not be a bad time to say, ‘Thank you very much. I am maybe just going to play Test cricket for the next few years and a little bit of IPL, enjoy the last bit of my career, have enough family time, and say goodbye to everyone’.”
Despite the speculation surrounding Kohli’s future, De Villiers emphasized that the Indian captain is still in remarkable physical shape and possesses the same unwavering determination and passion for the game. Kohli’s recent feats include breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s world record with the fastest century during an Asia Cup match. He is also just two centuries away from surpassing Tendulkar’s remarkable tally of ODI centuries, a record that currently stands at 100 international centuries.
De Villiers concluded, “I don’t think that is his focus. That is not his main drive. He has never been all about myself kind of a guy. He wants to win World Cups for his team and be part of a successful unit in all formats of the game. He is a team player, and that’s what you see on the field (with) all those emotions coming out. Especially when he is fielding, there is nothing really to gain for him, but you could see that emotion, which tells you how much it means to him to win.”
As cricket enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the World Cup and Kohli’s potential milestones, the Indian captain’s unwavering dedication to his team and the game itself remains evident in his every performance.