Cricket World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli is the one-day king and the king for one day

Written by on November 6, 2023

With the whole of India invited, Virat Kohli had the opportunity to mark his 35th birthday with yet another magical milestone as the hosts continued their seemingly unstoppable charge towards World Cup glory.

Eden Gardens is the spiritual home of Indian cricket. It could have been the Garden of Eden, so rich was the promise of paradise.

The match against South Africa was billed as a clash of the two best teams in the tournament – and could yet be a dress rehearsal for the final. It turned into a celebration of all things Kohli, the birthday boy carving out a 49th one-day international century and equalling a Sachin Tendulkar record once thought to be unreachable.

The signs were all there beforehand. A day earlier, India coach Rahul Dravid talked of Kohli being allowed to have a bowl. There were reports of cancelled plans to have 70,000 Virat masks and a birthday cake in tow – perhaps Kohli wanted to let his batting do the talking. As he left the field just after the national anthems, a fan rushed on to touch his feet.

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