'That hug told us a lot of things.'
Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra picked Virat Kohli's 'magnanimous' act during the 2021 T20 World Cup among India's top three moments in the calendar year.
Team India witnessed a memorable 2021 which had moments of low -- the World Test Championship final loss to New Zealand in June and a forgettable T20 World Cup campaign in the UAE in October.
However, amid all these, Chopra picked a 'spirit of cricket' moment from Kohli among the top three moments from 2021.
'You might say it is slightly bittersweet or what is good in that. Not good or bad, but it defines Indian cricket. Remember the World Cup game we lost to Pakistan. India was totally destroyed and Pakistan won by 10 wickets,' Chopra said on his YouTube channel as he began with the third-best moment from the year.
The opener, who played 10 Tests for India and scored over 10,000 runs in first class cricket, referred to the moment when Kohli acknowledged and praised Mohammad Rizwan and Pakistan Captain Babar Azam for their spectacular partnership that resulted in India's 10-wicket loss in the T20 World Cup tie.
'If you leave the outside noise aside, the picture that comes to mind is Babar Azam and Rizwan hugging Virat Kohli. That hug told us a lot of things. Kohli and the Indian team would have had a bigger heartbreak, but what Virat Kohli did was magnanimous.'
Aakash then picked India's Lord's Test victory as the second-best moment from the year.
'My second moment is Lord's. India played well in the first innings -- Rahul scored a century and Rohit played well. There is a collapse on the second morning and Joe Root hit another century, that too 180. You conceded the first-innings lead'.
The 151-run win that helped India take an early 1-0 lead in the four-Test series was the nation's third win at the historic cricket venue after 1986 and 2014.
'In the second innings, India were 55/3 at one stage and Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were playing to save their places. They have a big partnership, but again you are 209/8 and then the amazing partnership between Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. After that, England were bowled out for 120 in just 51 overs.'
Chopra picked the Gabba win as India's best moment from 2021.
'At No 1, it has to be Gabba. Our bowling lineup was Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar -- what was the chance of India doing well in that game?'
'Australia scored 369 when they batted first. India conceded the lead and were only able to fight because Washi and Shardul scored 62 and 67.'
It was India's maiden win at the venue, making them the first visiting side since 1986 to beat Australia in Brisbane.
'Australia scored 294 in the second innings. You lost Rohit Sharma early on the final day but after that the counterattack. Shubman Gill hit from one end, Pujara was standing at the other end and was getting hit all over the body but when he got out it seemed the game will be stuck.'
'But Rishabh Pant went on playing and hit the winning runs in the end. It was absolutely sensational.'