Sitting in the TV commentary room at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in Antigua was a batting great whose legend took roots on these shores. Way back in 1971, Sunil Gavaskar made his fabled debut in the West Indies and scored a mammoth 774 runs in four Tests. He went on to become one of the greatest-ever opening batsmen in the game.
On Friday, Gavaskar was a proud man as he rose to hail a great cricketing feat in the Caribbean land by another great Indian player after Virat Kholi scored his maiden double century.
Coincidentally, Virat Kohli also made his Test debut in the Caribbean, in 2012 in Jamaica as a 23-year old.
Kohli played a masterful knock of 200 (283 balls, 24 fours) and by the time he was dismissed, he had made sure India had the upper hand in the Test.
There probably is no other cricketer in the world who backs himself as much as Virat Kohli does, and with so much success. He had backed his five batsmen to deliver against West Indies so that he could launch a full-on attack on the opponents with five specialist bowlers. Even as he watched three top-order batsmen gifting their wickets away to Devendra Bishoo on Day One, he, yet again, took it upon himself to make sure India have enough runs on the board to let the bowlers try and get those 20 wickets to win the Test.
He did not put a foot wrong in his long innings. His concentration was unwavering, his judgment of line and length was unerring and his shot making was clean and controlled, something you always expect of him. Not for once did Kohli try to hit the ball in the air, such was the self-control.
Besides, his exceptional fitness let him run those ones and twos with ease all through the knock, helping the scoreboard move along briskly. West Indies had no answer to his craft and his attitude.
Just three captains have managed double hundreds in a Test match vs West Indies in the Caribbean. Apart from Kohli, the first two were England’s Len Hutton (205 at Kingston in 1953-54) and Australia’s Bobby Simpson (201 at Bridgetown in 1964-65).