London, June 11 () Star batter Virat Kohli, who has led India to victory many times before, will have to step up once again as the team look to chase down a big and historic target to win the ICC World Test Championship final and snatch the coveted mace from Australia.
On Sunday, India will begin the last day of the WTC Final needing 280 more runs to reach their target of 444 and complete perhaps the greatest fourth-innings run chase in Test history.
A successful fourth-innings chase in the WTC Final would smash not just the record of 262 at The Oval, but break the all-time benchmark of 418 set by the West Indies against Australia in 2003. But with Kohli still at the crease, there remains a glimmer of hope.
India’s star batter is renowned as the ‘chase master’ for a career filled with devastatingly decisive innings when targeting tricky totals, and revealed the role has been a key driver in his stunning return to form.
“What motivates me is knowing that the opportunity I have every game that I play for India, to make my team win,” Kohli had told the ICC ahead of the WTC Final.
“I don’t think in sport there is any bigger motivation than that. I wake up every morning of any game that I play believing that I’m going to be the guy who is going to make my team win,” he added.
The 34-year old Kohli will set out on day five of the WTC Final with 44 not out already on the scoreboard, with Ajinkya Rahane (20 not out) to partner the former India skipper as they look to create history against Australia.
It is the sort of burden Kohli is not only prepared to bear, but actively seeks out.
“I’m still as excited to be the man that helps my team when I’m batting out there. I want my team to feel comfortable and they can breathe a sigh of relief that I’m out there and (knowing) I can do the job,” said Kohli.
“That’s something that I’ve always taken a lot of pride in and I feel very grateful, as I said, to be in that position where the team can expect that from me. I still wake up every morning believing that I can be the man for the team,” he added.