Not a mean feat considering he went past all the seniors known as the Fab 5 of Indian cricket. The baton had truly passed.
He continued his fine form in the New Zealand series, hitting one century and two fifties; bagging one man of the match award in the process.
India’s star player failed in the first three Tests of the England series and India found itself 1-2 behind. Kohli came to form in the last Test and hit a gritty 295-ball century at Nagpur. His 500 odd ball partnership with captain MS Dhoni is the stuff of legends.
That knock will go a long way in securing his Test future and it ensured that India did not go 1-3 down, which would have been an even greater humiliation.
In the whole year in ODIs, Kohli was out in single figures in just one solitary innings, such was his form. After belting 995 runs in 2010, Kohli has crossed 100 runs for the second consecutive year. His year’s average is an astonishing 73.3!
His standout innings was probably the 86-ball 133 at Hobart in the triangular series in Australia. Sri Lanka posted a formidable target of 321 runs in its 50 overs. While winning would be tough, India had the added burden of winning in 40 overs to gain a bonus point to stay in contention for the finals.
He came in when the score was 86 and still found time to belt a brutal 133 by the 37th over to win the match! In one over, Kohli blasted the otherwise lethal death bowler Lasith Malinga for 24 runs. Malinga finally conceded a whopping 96 runs in just 7.4 overs.
If one thought it wouldn’t be possible to better that, then Kohli hit another century within a fortnight and bettered his earlier feat a few days after that century at the Asia Cup. We were chasing a target of 329 runs with eventual champions Pakistan.
Kohli blasted a 148-ball 183 as India won with 2.1 overs to spare. The most unique part was that in the first knock he hit just two sixes in the 133 knock and just one when he belted 183. It was all about quick singles and sweetly timed fours.
He hit five ODI tons (the highest in the year in the world) and three Test centuries in 2012.
In 2010-11, Kohli didn’t have a single international T20 fifty and that must have seemed like quite an aberration. So how did he begin 2012? By hitting three straight fifties in his first three matches!
In the T20 WC, he hit a career best 78 not out against Pakistan and when he was out for his only single digit score with the crucial match against South Africa, India could not get the required run rate to go forward.
In 2010-11 if he arrived in ODIs, he arrived in both Tests and T20s in 2012.
Kohli has the makings of a great future captain. When Dhoni failed to win his third successive T20 WC, it was the ideal time to hand over the baton to Kohli. His T20 experience would have helped him to lead in the longer formats of the game.
But the BCCI does not seem to have a proper succession plan in place.
In Tests, if Kohli does well against Australia and South Africa in 2013, then he would be surely ready to lead India in all three formats of the game.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/