England's Ben Stokes celebrates taking the wicket of India's captain Virat Kohli for 49 runs during play on the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between England and India at The Oval in London on September 8, 2018.
England's Ben Stokes celebrates taking the wicket of India's captain Virat Kohli for 49 runs during play on the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between England and India at The Oval in London on September 8, 2018.
AFP

Virat Kohli turned 31 today and has been the main man for the last five to seven years. The Delhi player undergone a massive transformation, be it his physical fitness, the mindset on the field and handling the pressure, especially during chases.

So much so, that it seems only like a matter of time before he breaks the records of his icon Sachin Tendulkar, including the ridiculously high 100 international centuries.

The 31-year-old has hit 69 international hundreds, 43 in ODIs and 26 in Tests, only three behind former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting’s tally of 71 centuries. No current player has come so close.

Kohli in the latest two years has kept going himself to keep his ranking on the top in all three formats and is highly rated for his technique to play the cover drive shot or playing with a straight bat, particularly in the V.

However, like all sportsmen who threaten to transcend their sport, Kohli is a larger-than-life figure with his fair share of controversies. We look back at the top 5:

1) Leave India

Kohli was brutally trolled in 2018 when his comments asking a fan to leave the country during what appeared to be an angry outburst from a bygone era. A fan told Kohli: “He (Virat) is an overrated batsman. Nothing seems special in his batting. I enjoy watching English and Australian batsmen more than these Indians.”

5 off-field incidents over the years that will make a mature Virat Kohli call himself Ben Stokes

Reacting, Kohli said: “I don’t think you should live in India. Go and live somewhere else. Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don’t mind you not liking me. I don’t think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right.”

This led to some major trolling, many point out all the foreign brands Kohli endorsed and his support for the German football team.

2. Taking Swacch Bharat to the next level

In 2018, Virat Kohli posted a video on his Instagram and Twitter handle where his wife Anushka Sharma was seen sitting and shouting at another person.

The Bollywood star was trying to school the individual to not throw garbage in a tone that one would call rather rough. However, many felt that Virat and Anushka were overstepping their place, and almost acting like vigilantes.

Some of the fans also criticised the couple for defaming the individual’s image in public. Many also made funny memes related to the incident.

3. Anushka Sharma – India’s vice-captain?

During India’s tour of England in 2018, the entire Indian cricket team was invited to visit the Indian High Commissioner in London. When the photograph of the team with the officials went viral, everyone was surprised to see Anushka Sharma in the picture as she was the only wife of a cricketer present.

5 off-field incidents over the years that will make a mature Virat Kohli call himself Ben Stokes

Things became even worse when some fans spotted India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane standing towards the back, whereas Anushka Sharma was standing right next to the skipper and her husband Virat Kohli in the picture getting the limelight.

Fans expressed their opinion on Twitter and questioned the team management for such a photograph as it was very disrespectful towards Ajinkya Rahane. Virat was not spared as he was blamed for bringing his wife to the event.

4. Detoxing your ego!

This year in August when India toured West Indies and white-washed them in the Test series winning 2-0. In the first Test match when India was batting in the second innings with Jadeja at the crease, Kohli was caught on camera reading Steven Sylvester’s book ‘Detox Your Ego’ in the dressing room.

5 off-field incidents over the years that will make a mature Virat Kohli call himself Ben Stokes

It led to a lot of hilarity online, with many taking a dig at the Indian captain, wondering if he was imitating his counterpart Mithali Raj.

5. Encounter with a fan

During an IPL qualifier 1 match between CSK and RCB in 2011, which RCB lost by six wickets, Kohli reacted furiously towards a fan.

After the match when RCB players were on their way to their dressing room, fans sitting in the crowd booed the players with the chants of “CSK rocks” directed towards Kohli and teammates. A furious Kohli who was already in shock after the defeat, made a beeline for the fan, pointing finger straight towards him and uttered few words in Hindi.

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