In a Ranji Trophy match in 2006, Karnataka amassed 446 against Delhi who were soon tottering at 14/4.
An 18-year-old Virat Kohli waged a lone battle and ended the day on 40.
It was then that the bad news came. His father Prem Kohli passed away that night at the age of just 54. The teenager’s world was shattered.
Kohli faced an awful choice – whether to cremate his father or to go and finish his innings for Delhi.
While no one expected him to come out to bat, he surprised all those present by doing just that.
He played for 281 minutes and faced 238 balls. When he was declared out after scoring a match-saving 90, just before lunch though the bat had brushed the pad as replays showed, his team was clearly out of trouble, with only 36 runs needed to avoid the follow-on.
After his innings, Kohli went to attend the funeral. His father was cremated later that evening and the rest is history. Kohli transformed from an 18-year-old teenager into a mature adult overnight.
This was a great example of how one put aside personal tragedy to be there for those who needed him to be. It was a crucial factor in shaping his career as a player.
The mental strength he displayed at such a time shows how remarkable a character he was.
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