Team India might have endured a disappointing run in the Asia Cup 2022, but one of the major positives for the side was Virat Kohli‘s return to run-scoring. On Thursday, Kohli ended a long wait for a century, smashing an unbeaten 122 against Afghanistan to score his maiden T20I ton; it was also his 71st international century, as Kohli equalled Australia great Ricky Ponting for the feat. The India batter now remains only behind fellow countryman Sachin Tendulkar (100) in terms of most international tons.
Kohli had opened the innings alongside KL Rahul in the game, as Rohit Sharma opted to rest for India’s last match of the edition. The duo forged an impressive 119-run stand during which Kohli also reached his half-century in 32 deliveries. Following the quick wickets of Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav, the 33-year-old batter readjusted the pace of the innings before taking on the aggressive approach again, eventually bringing his century with a six in the 19th over of the game.
The unbeaten 122-run innings from Kohli also put him in the record books for being India’s highest scorer in a single T20I innings. Following the innings, former India head coach Ravi Shastri, who worked closely with Kohli during the latter’s stint as the captain of the side, lauded the Indian batter.
“I think what today’s innings of Virat Kohli has done, is that it has thrown the spanner in the works. It is allowed now for the selectors to think, ‘do we need a third opener?’” Shastri said during his commentary stint on Star Sports.
“When Virat Kohli is there, you got KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, and Virat could well be the third opener in case there’s an injury. It allows you to have an extra fast bowler, as well as an extra batsman in the middle order. So, it does open some opportunity,” he further added.
Kohli made a return to the Indian team after more than a month’s break from the sport, following an extended patch of low-scoring games. The former India captain is likely to be seen in action next in the T20I series against Australia, that begins on September 20.