Bangalore, Mar 19: The number 183 holds a special place in Indian cricket. Two of India's batsmen who made identical scores of 183 went on to captain the Indian team. Young Virat Kohli too joined those two on Sunday with a match-winning 183. Will he be the next leader soon?
The two batsmen we are talking about is Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni. Call it the magic of 183 or luck or destiny, both went on to become India's captains.
Both Ganguly and Dhoni have been one of India's most successful leaders. Kohli too has all the makings of stepping into these two great leaders and we might see that happening within the next two years.
For the first time in his career, Kohli was handed the responsibility of vice-captaincy for Asia Cup. And how does he respond to that? A tournament's highest aggregate of 357 runs in three matches with two centuries and a half ton.
Kohli's 183 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Pakistan, was rated as one of the best innings by an Indian. He broke the previous Asia Cup highest individual score of 144 by Younis Khan and also is now joint fourth on India's top individual innings. It was Kohli's 11th ODI ton.
Virender Sehwag (219) leads the pack with Sachin Tendulkar in second and third with 200 not out and 186 knocks.
Ganguly's 183 came in a World Cup 1999 match against Sri Lanka while batting first. On May 26, 1999, Ganguly registered his highest ODI score of 183 in 158 balls with 17 boundaries and 7 sixes as India piled up 373/6 in 50 overs. Rahul Dravid scored 145 in the same match. Ganguly and Dravid shared a record 318-run partnership for the second wicket. India won the contest by 157 runs.
After that knock in Taunton, England, Ganguly was anointed as India's captain in 2000. He formed a fine partnership with coach John Wright to turn Indian team's fortunes.
Dhoni shot to international fame with a blistering undefeated 183 against Sri Lanka on October 31, 2005 in Jaipur. That came in India's chase of 299. Dhoni batted at number 3, smashing 10 sixes and 15 boundaries in 145-ball 183.
That was Dhoni's second ODI ton and also the highest by a wicketkeeper in the 50-over game.
In less than two years from that knock, Dhoni was made the India captain. His first assignment was the World Twenty20 Championship and India won the trophy in 2007 September.
That successful journey in South Africa, took Dhoni to great heights and India last year won the 50-over World Cup after a gap of 28 years.
The signs have been positive with the magical number of 183. Life was not the same for Ganguly and Dhoni after achieving 183-run knock.
Kohli has now touched that mark. He led India to Under-19 World Cup glory in 2008. He is already hailed as future captain and we could see him that role soon. Will it be next year or 2014? Or we might see Kohli at the helm in the next World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
Whenever Kohli sits on that India captain chair, it would be better for him to remember March 18, 2012 and more importantly 183.