The collective anticipation of an entire nation as Virat approached his 49th ODI century was nothing short of intimidating.
Nevertheless, pressure appears to be a catalyst that propels him to greater heights.Virat provided insight into his mindset and his method of distancing himself from the surrounding frenzy.
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“I always wanted to keep my emotions and feelings in control. It is a very important part of my game. So, I keep that awareness ahead of the match,” said Kohli on Star Sports.
Kohli, on his 35th birthday, made a superbly paced 101 not out in a total of 326-5 after India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss on a tricky pitch at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
Virat said he felt “honoured” to equal “hero” Sachin Tendulkar‘s record of 49 one-day international hundreds during India’s 243-run World Cup rout of fellow semi-finalists South Africa on Sunday.
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India, who have now won all eight of their pool play matches so far and are guaranteed to finish top of the 10-team table, then dismissed South Africa for just 83 in 27.1 overs, with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja taking 5-33.
It had taken Kohli 277 innings to score 49 hundreds at this level compared to the 438 required by Tendulkar.
“Well played Virat. It took me 365 days to go from 49 to 50 (years old) earlier this year. I hope you go from 49 to 50 and break my record in the next few days. Congratulations,” said Tendulkar on X (formerly Twitter).
“Tendulkar’s tweet is quite special,” said Kohli after scoring 49th ODI century.
“It’s all too much to take in for now. It’s a huge honour to equal my hero’s record. He’s perfection with the bat. It’s an emotional moment. I know the days I come from, I know the days I have watched him on TV,” the India run machine said.