It's over two years since Virat Kohli scored his last international century. The Indian team's Test skipper has notched up 483 runs in 10 games this year including four half-centuries. But Kohli, currently third in the list of the all-time century-makers in international cricket after Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, is still waiting to score his 71st ton.
As the year draws to a close, it will be interesting to see whether the 33-year-old batter regains his magic touch after being relieved of captaincy in the limited-overs formats. Leaving Kohli's century drought out of the picture, India coach Rahul Dravid has said that the Test skipper has induced a culture of fitness within the Indian team. Dravid recalled Kohli's debut and also commented on his meteoric rise at the biggest stage.
The Kohli-led Indian contingent is all set to play South Africa in a three-match Test series, starting December 26 with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion. "I was there when Virat Kohli made his debut, I was there when he played his first Test match and I batted with him in that particular game.
"It is actually phenomenal to see how he has grown as a cricketer in the last 10 years, just the kind of performances he has had for the team. The way he has led the team and it has been terrific. He has driven a culture of fitness and energy levels among the team. I am looking forward to work with him, he just keeps evolving and he keeps pushing himself," Dravid told bcci.tv.
Dravid also recalled playing in the Rainbow Nation and leading India to a famous Test win in 2006 at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. India had also reached the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa where they had suffered a 125-run defeat against the Aussies.
"It has been a great country to tour and a very challenging place to play cricket but also an exciting place to play the game. I have some fond memories associated with playing in South Africa, having won Test match here as a captain. Had some tough games here also, we reached the final of the 2003 World Cup, that was a really good memory. So it is a place that is very passionate about their cricket, games are well supported and well attended. Really looking forward to the series."
"There is an expectation to win now, everytime India travels abroad irrespective where it is and whatever format we are playing, the expectation is that we are good enough to win and compete. It is not easy, South Africa is one of the challenging conditions to play cricket in, they do play well at home so we need to be at our best to win here," he added.
Dravid started his coaching stint with the senior men's team on a positive note, registering a T20I series sweep against New Zealand at home and following it up with a 1-0 Test series victory against the same opposition. Dravid, who is geared up for his first overseas assignment with the Indian team, emphasized on the team's preparation and mental aspect as well.
"We have had some good practice sessions, I have been happy with the intensity guys have put in. The mental mindsight I can see among the players has been really good. We are preparing well and yeah we will take it from there," said Dravid.