After a crushing loss against South Africa in the first Test, the Indian cricket team is gearing up for the second and final match that starts on Wednesday in Cape Town. For India it’s a do-or-die match if they are to draw the series. In the first Test, Dean Elgar hit 185 while the South African bowlers were on song too as India crumbled to a loss by innings and 32 runs. The second Test gives them an opportunity to set the record straight.

Ahead of second Test, the Indian team has been practicing in full tilt. On Monday, Virat Kohli took part in an intense practice session. He faced the Indian bowlers as well as net bowlers.

After a dry spell from 2020-2022, India’s star batter Virat Kohli returned to his normal, run-scoring ways with a historic, record-breaking and consistent 2023 as a batter, breaking some massive batting records previously considered untouchable.

The star batter went several steps ahead to match the legacy of the Indian great Sachin Tendulkar.

This year will be known as the one of Virat’s redemption. Every match, every series, and every tournament saw him grab headlines and re-write record books, even during some occasional off days with the bat. Though Virat’s redemption story remains incomplete without the presence of the highly-elusive Indian Premier League (IPL) title, ICC World Test Championship mace, and the most heartbreaking of them all, an ICC Cricket World Cup trophy at home, Virat’s batting still gave millions of his fans immeasurable joy, ecstasy, pride, and many more reasons to consider him their ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All Time).

Just a decade back, Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries looked impossible to break. Then stepped up a youngster from Delhi, piling up runs and centuries at a rate never seen before every year. On that eventful November 15 this year during the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final at Wankhede Stadium, Virat became the first player to make 50 ODI centuries, achieving this feat in front of the legend himself, who was clapping for him in the audience.

From lifting Sachin on his shoulders following India’s World Cup triumph back in 2011 at the same venue, Virat had come a long way, standing shoulder to shoulder with his idol in debates of “Who is the greatest ODI batter of all time?”.

After overtaking this mammoth record, Virat was humble even after toppling his idol, saying after the innings, “It is all too much for me to take in now; to equal my hero’s record is something special for me. He is perfection when it comes to batting. But I am never going to be as good as him.”

The respect was mutual, as Sachin wasted no time in wishing Virat on X (formerly Twitter):

“The first time I met you in the Indian dressing room, you were pranked by other teammates into touching my feet. I couldn’t stop laughing that day. But soon, you touched my heart with your passion and skill. I am so happy that that young boy has grown into a ‘Virat’ player. I couldn’t be happier that an Indian broke my record. And to do it on the biggest stage – in the World Cup Semi-final – and at my home ground is the icing on the cake,” tweeted Sachin.

With ANI inputs

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