Virat Kohli made his international debut on August 18, 2008 in the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. (Image credit: Twitter)
Virat Kohli is the ultimate run-making machine in the modern era. After the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli has taken the mantle of being consistent in all formats of the game and his sheer ability to make runs in all conditions makes him a class act. Currently, Virat Kohli has 6613 runs at an average of 53 in 77 Tests while in ODIs, he has a staggering 11520 runs at an average of 60 with 43 centuries. Kohli is on track to break Tendulkar's tally of runs and centuries in ODIs but his legendary reputation on the international stage all started 11 years ago, on August 18 and in the small town of Dambulla.
Kohli had already acquired a reputation of being a player of rare talent before his international debut. In the 2006 Ranji Trophy encounter, while playing for Delhi against Karnataka at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Kohli's father died. However, this did not deter him and he went on to make 90 as the match ended in a draw.
The knock of 90 made Kohli stand-out for his single-mindedness and his dedication towards the game. Two years later, in February, Kohli was at the helm when India achieved Under-19 glory in the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With consistent returns, Kohli was selected for the Indian cricket team against Sri Lanka and he was selected to make his debut in the first game at Dambulla in August 2008.
After the Test series ended with a 1-2 loss to India, the team needed some good news. Kohli came out to bat with fellow Delhi team-mate Gautam Gambhir but India started badly when Gambhir was bowled by Chaminda Vaas for 0. Kohli struggled to get going and he showed glimpses of his talent when he flicked a full ball to the deep square leg fence for his first boundary. However, on 12, he was dismissed LBW by Nuwan Kulasekara with a good length delivery that nipped back in to trap him plumb in front. India were bowled out for 146 and Sri Lanka won the match comfortably.
In the same series though, Kohli scored his first fifty by hammering 54 in the fourth ODI at the Premadasa stadium as India won a bilateral ODI series in Sri Lanka after a long time by clinching the five-match series 3-2. Kohli had a productive series and when Sri Lanka came back to tour India in 2009, Kohli produced the first of his 43 ODI centuries when he smashed 107 and shared a partnership of 224 with Gambhir, who blasted 150.
Ever since that first game in Dambulla, Kohli's reputation and batsmanship has gone up a notch. 11 years later, he is now one of the greatest batsman to have graced the cricket field.