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India hero Virat Kohli reacts after ending long wait for century

Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten ton in India’s victory over Afghanistan (Picture: Getty)

Virat Kohli said he felt ‘blessed’ and ‘grateful’ after ending his long wait for an international century in India’s Asia Cup victory over Afghanistan.

Kohli, rated as one of the best players of his generation, had not reached three figures in international cricket in almost three years.

The 33-year-old looked back to his best in Dubai on Thursday as he smashed 122 not out off 61 balls to fire India to 212-2 against Afghanistan.

Opening the batting, Kohli shared a 119-run partnership with KL Rahul and ended the innings with 12 fours and six sixes.

In reply, Afghanistan stuttered to 111-8, although the 101-run defeat will not hurt too much as it was a dead-rubber, with both teams already through to the knockout stages.

Speaking at the halfway stage, an emotional Kohli said: ‘I feel very blessed, very grateful right now. The last two and a half years have taught me a lot.

‘I have put a lot of things in perspective and, actually, I was a bit shocked because this was the format I least expected a century to come in any time soon.

Kohli smashed 122 not out off 61 balls (Picture: Getty)

‘I have been working hard and this was just a moment which was very special for me and the team as well.’

Kohli kissed his wedding ring after reaching his long-awaited hundred and added: ‘I’m standing here like this right now because things have been put into perspective and one person stood by me through all these difficult times, [his wife] Anushka [Sharma].

‘This hundred is especially dedicated to her and our little daughter Vamika.’

Kohli was left out of multiple India tours before returning to the team for the Asia Cup.

On his time away, Kohli said: ‘It taught me a lot of things, when I came back I wasn’t desperate. I was grateful for what God blessed me with.

‘People were talking about me not getting a hundred but I looked at how much he has given me already, so that really calmed me down, that relaxed me, I was just happy to come back.

India crushed Afghanistan in the Asia Cup dead-rubber (Picture: Getty)

‘I understood after taking a break how tired I actually was mentally and physically. I think it was a blessing in disguise for me.

‘I wanted to be the best version of myself for the team, and when I came here, when I started playing in the nets, I felt like my old rhythm was coming back. It was just about getting those performances in the middle again.’

Asked how he intended to celebrate his 71st international century, Kohli added: ‘I’m going to turn 34 in November, so celebrations are a thing of the past!’

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