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Youth cricket and early career
Kohli first came into the spotlight when he played for Delhi in a Ranji trophy match against Karnataka on the day of his father's death. His team mates needed him at a crucial moment when he was much more needed at home. But he said that he wanted to bat and scored 90 runs. Mitthun Manhas, the team's captain, remarked that "That is an act of great commitment to the team and his innings turned out to be crucial".
Kohli captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 U/19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. Batting at number 4, he scored 235 runs in 6 matches at an average of 47, including a century against the West Indies U-19s.He was also commended for making several tactical bowling changes during the tournament.
Kohli was instrumental in India's win of the 2009 Emerging Players Tournament in Australia. In the final against South Africa, Kohli scored a century and India went on to win the game by 17 runs. Kohli emerged as the leading run scorer of the tournament, aggregating 398 runs from seven matches including two centuries and two fifties.
Indian Premier League Kohli played for Royal Challengers Bangalore at the 2008 Indian Premier League. He was bought for $30,000 before the first season in 2008. He did not perform well, scoring only 165 runs in 13 innings at an average of 15 and taking only 2 wickets in his bowling. But he improved marginally in the second season, scoring 246 runs in 16 innings with an average of 22.36 and taking 9 catches and 2 run outs. In the third season he scored two half centuries. He scored 307 runs in 13 innings at an average of 27.90. In the fourth season of IPL, he was the only player that Royal Challengers Bangalore retained, preferred over the likes of Rahul Dravid and Ross Taylor.
Following a hundred in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia in 2008, Kohli was selected in the ODI squad for India's tour of Sri Lanka. Kohli made his debut in One Day Internationals against Sri Lanka in the Idea Cup in 2008 when both Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were injured. He opened the batting in the first match, but was out for 12. But he made a crucial 37 in a low scoring second match in the series, which helped India win and level the series. He made his first half century, a score of 54, in the fourth match which helped India win the series. This was India's first one day series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. He was included in the squad for the home ODI series against England later that same year but because both Tendulkar and Sehwag were back in the squad he was not given a chance to play. Kohli was then dropped from the squad for the five-match ODI series in Sri Lanka against Sri Lanka in January 2009 in favour of the all rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
Kohli played in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy after Yuvraj Singh was injured, and since mid-2009 has been the reserve ODI batsman. Yuvraj regained fitness for the home series against Australia, so Kohli only played in occasional matches in the series.
In the absence of the injured Yuvraj, Kohli got a chance to play in the 4th ODI when Sri Lanka toured India in December 2009. He scored his first ODI century, milking singles with Gautam Gambhir they shared a 224-run partnership for the third wicket as India won by seven wickets to seal the series 3–1.
Senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar was rested for the tri-nations tournament in Bangladesh in January 2010, so Kohli played in each of India's five matches. After making nine in the opening loss to Sri Lanka, he top-scored with 91 to help secure a win after India collapsed early in their runchase against Bangladesh on 7 January 2010. He then ended unbeaten on 71 to help win the match for India with a bonus point after they chased down their target quickly. The next day, he scored his second ODI century, against Bangladesh, bringing up the mark with the winning runs. He was much praised for his performances during the tournament, and became only the third Indian to score 2 ODI centuries before their 22nd birthday, following in the footsteps of Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. However, in the final against Sri Lanka he made only two as India collapsed to 5/60 and an eventual four-wicket defeat.
Kohli was named vice-captain of the ODI side for the Tri-series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe in June 2010 as all the other first-choice players skipped the tournament. In the same series, he became the fastest Indian to score 1,000 runs in ODI cricket.
In 2011 World cup, Virat Kohli was preferred ahead Suresh Raina and became the first Indian to score a century on World Cup debut. He also scored 59 against West Indies while sharing a 122-run patnership with Yuvraj Singh. His 83-run partnership for the third wicket with Gautam Gambhir was instrumental in India taking the upper hand during their run chase against Sri Lanka in the final. He made 282 runs in 9 innings at an average of 35.25.
First Test experience
When India toured the West Indies in June and July 2011 they chose a largely inexperienced squad, resting Tendulkar and others absent through injury such as Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. Kohli was one of three uncapped players in the Test squad.India won the Test series 1–0 but Kohli struggled on his introduction to the format; he struggled with the short ballamassing just 76 runs from five innings. Particularly troublesome for Kohli was the fast bowling of Fidel Edwards, who dismissed him three times in the series.
|ODI Match Centuries of Virat Kohli|
|1||107||14||Sri Lanka||Kolkata, India||Eden Gardens||2009|
|2||102*||19||Bangladesh||Mirpur, Bangladesh||Shere Bangla National Stadium||2010|
|3||118||35||Australia||Vishakapatnam, India||ACA-VDCA Stadium||2010|
|4||105||36||New Zealand||Guwahati, India||Nehru Stadium||2010|
|5||100*||46||Bangladesh||Mirpur, Bangladesh||Shere Bangla National Stadium||2011|