With every year, Virat Kohli has kept elevating every aspect of his game, from consistency to average and strike-rate to frequency of his hundreds, eventually culminating in him scaling the 10k peak in ODIs faster than anyone else.
1000 runs – The Sri Lanka Specialist
This was the third slowest-phase of Kohli’s run-making career, and the only period where his average briefly languished below 40. It was also the only part of his ODI career where he was in-and-out of the team. He made his debut as an opener in Dambulla and was dropped after playing all five matches on that bilateral tour. He made his return over a year later and remained a Sri Lanka specialist—15 of his first 27 matches came against them.
2000 runs – Modest Average, World Cup Winner
Kohli cemented his spot and the No.3 position, scored his first World Cup hundred, against Bangladesh, lifted Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders, and also became a World Cup winner. His game had flaws, but shining in his eyes was a hunger to succeed. He also made it a habit of converting starts to hundreds, though in the World Cup he couldn’t reprise that ability which was to became his trademark.
3000 runs – Taking load off Sachin
Kohli started taking some load off Tendulkar’s shoulders in the top-order and while Tendulkar looked for his 100th ton, he kept burgeoning his century tally, including his first away from home in Cardiff and also got into a public spat with the Australian public. But there were signs enough that India has unearthed someone special.
4000 runs – First Sighting Of The Beast
Hit beast mode for the first time, scoring 5 centuries in 8 innings, including a blistering 133 not out in 86 balls to help India qualify for the tri-series final and his highest score of 183 against Pakistan in a big run-chase. This period saw the birth of Kohli the cerebral finisher and the passing on of Tendulkar the ODI cricketer, and also the emergence of a new fitness regime and diet for him
5000 runs – Blow Hot, Blow Cold
It was a strange phase, where Kohli was booed—maybe for the only time by an Indian crowd—at Wankhede during an IPL match, got into a heated tiff with Gautam Gambhir during the same tournament, went 13 ODI innings without a century before establishing himself as the best run-chaser in the world, and also captained India for the first time. He also crossed 10 million followers on Twitter.
6000 runs – Test Demons, One-day Demon
When he wasn’t fighting his Test demons and the nightmare of James Anderson running in with a red Dukes ball in a nightmarish series, he was posing on Twitter holding fours fingers up to celebrate his four million followers. He was raising his bat over and over again, considering he didn’t go more than two innings without a 50 on average.
7000 runs – Romance With Australia
Took over as Test captain after Dhoni stepped down during the Australia series, set India going at the World Cup with a century against Pakistan, and made the quiff, the most sought-after hairstyle across India. He also established his batting romance with Australian pitches, scoring four stunning Test tons and four ODI tons Down Under in this period.
8000 runs – Forbes Foray And 1,000-run year
Kohli was the sole Indian in the Forbes richest sportspersons list. Kohli also opened up his private life a lot more to the social media glare, posting pictures with his dog and videos of his fitness routines. He extended his canine love by starting a dog shelter in Bangalore while continuing to be on beast mode in ODIs with an average of a 100. This was also the first time he scored 1,000 runs in a calendar year, which he again did in successive seasons.
9000 runs – Bolt And Bells
He was indulging in Twitter exchanges with sprint king Usain Bolt about playing cricket against each other, sharing mutual admiration with England striker Harry Kane and tying the knot with Anushka Sharma. In between he kept rattling out hundreds, rekindled his affection for Australian pitches and bowlers. Sri Lanka and New Zealand bowlers too bore the brunt of his bat.
10,000 runs – Walking Centurion
While he seems to be scoring a century every time he walks out to bat, Kohli’s been earning $120,000 every time he puts out an Instagram post. The purple patch began in South Africa–in Cape Town he struck perhaps the finest century of his ODI career (160 not out) and wrapped off the series with another fine one in Centurion.