India Head Coach Rahul Dravid hails Virat Kohli.
'It's a testament to everything that is great in our sport... sweat, discipline, courage, skill, determination, desire, focus; you had it all. You had a great journey. You have done it with class and excellence.'
Basking in the glory of becoming only the 12th Indian cricketer to play 100 Tests, Virat Kohli said he wants the "next generation" to take inspiration from the fact he could achieve the milestone despite playing in all three formats of the game in a gruelling international schedule.
Indian cricket's reigning superstar was felicitated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, commemorating his landmark 100th Test, on Day 1 of the first match of the series against Sri Lanka in Mohali on Friday.
"In present day cricket, with the amount of cricket we play, with three formats and the IPL, the only takeaway if the next generation can take from my Test career is that I was able to strive through and play the purest format of the game and get to 100 Test matches," Kohli said, after being felicitated by head coach Rahul Dravid before the start of play.
Due to bio-bubble restrictions, it was Dravid who presented Kohli with a commemorative cap and a glittering memento.
Kohli had his actor wife Anushka Sharma beside him and brother Vikas Kohli in the stands.
"It is a special moment for me. My wife is here and so is my brother. All my family members and coach from childhood, all are proud. It is indeed a team game and it couldn't have been possible without you.
"Thanks to BCCI as well for giving me this opportunity to represent the Indian cricket team initially and from there on everything has gone from strength to strength.
"I couldn't have received it from a better person (Dravid), one of my childhood heroes. I still have that picture in my house from under-15 NCA days, where I was looking at you and taking a picture with you, and today I get my 100th Test cap from you. So, indeed it's been a great journey and one which hopefully continues to grow."
From the BCCI, president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, treasurer Arun Dhumal and vice-president Rajiv Shukla were in attendance.
Coach Dravid waxed eloquent about Kohli's longevity and asked him to "double it up".
"Virat, I am sure, when you started out as a kid you wanted to play one Test match for India, and you stand here today on the cusp of your 100th Test match," the India Head Coach said.
"It's a testament to everything that is great in our sport... sweat, discipline, courage, skill, determination, desire, focus; you had it all. You had a great journey. You have done it with class and excellence."
Kohli joined an illustrious list, comprising Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma, who all played 100 Tests for the country.
“You can be very proud of not only playing the 100th Test match but also for the great journey that you have navigated through. Congratulations to you and your family on this fantastic achievement," Dravid added.
"It's well-deserved, well-earned, and, hopefully, it is just the start of many things to come. As we say in the dressing room, double it up," the former India captain declared, before presenting the cap to Kohli.
Tributes have been pouring in for Kohli for past several days. On Friday morning BCCI secretary Jay Shah described the former skipper as the man who redefined Test cricket.
"His journey has been a union of emotion, passion, dedication and determination. To the man who redefined Test cricket and infused it with fresh life, congratulations @imVkohli on this landmark Test. Let's come together and celebrate," Shah tweeted.