The greatest quality in an elite athlete is that he/she is never satisfied with what they have already achieved. Lesser mortals may bask in glory, but for these champions, it's always about pushing the envelope as far as they can.
During these last two weeks, we have seen Virat Kohli unleash his "Chase Monster" mode in the World Cup in a format he has owned like no one else.
Kohli has had a strange relationship with previous World Cups. He entered the past two editions as the best batsman in the world, but couldn't quite conquer the heights that he normally does in T20 World Cups or other multi-nation events.
Yes, he scored a truckload of half-centuries, but two things were missing. 1) his trademark chasing game and 2) three-figure scores which he normally eats for breakfast.
So, by the time this World Cup rolled around, one got a sense that the champion batsman was up to something. And, we got a sense of it in the very first game India played.
Chase Master Kohli finally graces the World Cup
One of the greatest hallmarks of "Chase Monster" Kohli is that everything looks so calm and composed when he is at the crease.
However, this time, Virat had his demons to conquer. His last WC innings until the start of this edition had ended in heartbreak as India succumbed to a tragic semi-final defeat at the hands of New Zealand.
Virat Kohli in successful ODI run-chases
The World Cup had never seen vintage chase master Virat in his element, choreographing a run-chase to perfection. His highest score in run-chases before this event was just 44.
The grandest stage of them all was waiting with bated breath for the greatest dancer of the concert to showcase his moves to the hilt. And, to be honest, even Virat couldn't wait to dazzle.
So, when he walked out to the middle during India's opening game against Australia, one could just sense that something was about to give.
And, when he was dropped by Mitch Marsh early on in the innings, the signs were clear that the entire universe was aligned for the artist to showcase his talent in full flight.
He did that with "Kohli-esque" precision as the 34-year-old ran like Usain Bolt and painted the stadium with his brilliant stroke play.
The run-chase was made to perfection by Kohli and an equally efficient KL Rahul, but it wasn't enough for the former to be satisfied.
Superman Kohli showcases his human-side in full glory
And, that for us fans, was the most heartening moment of the match. The passion, hunger, the drive to keep churning out hundreds that had defined Kohli in his formative years, were back as he showcased immense pain and frustration after getting dismissed for 85.
This was an apt indication of what was about to follow. It sent a message to the other teams that he was coming to get them. And, not by just icing the run-chase to perfection, but also by completing his century in the process.
The match against Bangladesh displayed Virat's surgical precision as a 'chase monster", his supreme fitness, and his unrelenting hunger to get that three-figure score.
And, when he finally got past his ton (48th), one could just see how much it mattered to him. It showed the human side of an athlete in full glory; it showed that no matter how many times one downplays the impact of milestones and Virat did that many times during his peak years, they do matter.
It also showed how these milestones not only motivate the individual to achieve more glory, but it also brings the team together as was visible in the Indian dressing room.
Three days later, Kohli was back at it again, choreographing yet another tense run-chase to perfection to break the 20-year-old jinx against New Zealand. And, again, he tried to get to his century after having ensured India's victory, but, unfortunately, this time it wasn't written in the stars.
If this was 2019, Kohli would have just walked off with a sheepish smile, but the 2023 version proceeded to scream in agony, signifying that the fire in his belly is burning as bright as ever.
However, Kohli is not done yet. He is hungry, and baying for more match-winning centuries, and his painful expressions after he was dismissed at 95, may have just signaled that this party's just getting started.
Featured Image Credit: BCCI