As TIME Magazine decided to feature Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli in '100 Most Influential People' list for 2018, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar came with the best of the words to hail the 29-year-old batsman on his success.
The Delhi-born Kohli is among the six sportspersons, and the only cricketer, to make it to the prestigious list. Besides American sports powerhouse quartet of baller Kevin Durant, snowboarder Chloe Kim, figure skater Adam Rippon and American footballer JJ Watt, Kohli and Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer remained the only two sportspersons from outside the United States.
Heaping praises for his hunger for runs and consistency, Tendulkar wrote in his tribute for TIME Magazine, "The U-19 World Cup in 2008 was very important for India, as it would define the next bunch of youngsters who would go on to represent the nation. That was the first time I watched this young, passionate player lead India.
"Today Virat Kohli is a household name and a champion in cricket. Even back then, his hunger for runs and consistency was remarkable, something that has become the hallmark of his game," he added.
Kohli is currently the number one-ranked ODI batsman and second best in Tests. He has led Team India to the number one rank in both Test and ODI team rankings.
Mentioning how Kohli sailed through tough times, Tendulkar said: "Every sportsman knows what it’s like to have good spells and bad ones too. Virat took the criticism he faced during a disappointing West Indies series and returned home with a goal: to improve not only his technique, but also his fitness level. He’s never looked back.
"My father always told me that if I focused on what I was doing, over time, detractors would become followers. Virat seems to have a similar outlook when it comes to his game," Tendulkar added.
Tendulkar, the man with most international runs and a whopping 100 international hundreds, wished Kohli "all the best for his career ahead", adding that the aggressive batsman will continue to bring pride and glory to the nation through cricket.
Having played 331 international matches, Kohli has made 17125 runs with 35 centuries in ODIs and 21 in Tests to his name.
Kohli thanked Tendulkar for his "warm and encouraging words" and said he was honoured to make it to the TIME's list.