Virat Kohli said that the gap of two and half years without an international hundred put many things in perspective as he dedicated his maiden T20I hundred on Thursday against Afghanistan to his wife and daughter.
Kohli smashed six sixes and 12 boundaries in his unbeaten 122 off 61 balls in the Asia Cup Super Four match at Dubai as he went level with Ricky Ponting's tally of 71 international hundred - the second most of all time.
"I feel very blessed, very grateful right now. Last two and a half years have taught me a lot. I'm going to turn 34 in November, so celebrations are all (things of) the past," Kohli said during the innings break.
Kohli went 1021 days without a hundred as many questioned his his form and even place in the team. The 33-year old said that the gap taught him a lot of things.
"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, but it's all God's blessings. I have been working hard and this was just a moment which was very special for me and the team as well," he said.
"As I said, when I came back into the team, the team's been really open and welcoming and helpful, given me space to work on my game. I know there was a lot of stuff going on on the outside but they really kept my perspective right," he said.
After reaching the three-figure mark with a six over deep midwicket, Kohli was all smiles as he acknowledged his dressing room and the crowd before kissing the ring around his neck.
"And I kissed my ring (on a chain around his neck) in the celebration as well. You see me standing here like this right now because all the things that have been put in perspective and have been done by one person, who stood by me through all these difficult times - that's Anushka (Sharma) and this hundred is specially dedicated to her and our little daughter Vamika as well," Kohli said.
"When you have someone next to you putting the things in right perspective like I have, and Anushka has been by my side through all these times," he added.
Kohli was rested for India's limited-overs series against West Indies and Zimbabwe as he returned to the squad for the Asia Cup and notched up two fifties and a hundred from five matches.
"Time away from the game taught me a lot of things, when I came back I wasn't desperate. I was grateful for what God blessed me before. 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."
Kohli said that the break from cricket turned out to be blessing in disguise for him.
"Six weeks off, I was refreshed, I understood after taking a break how tired actually I was mentally and physically. Your competitiveness doesn't allow you to take that call, but 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," Kohli said.
India restricted Afghanistan 111/8 in 20 overs to finish their Asia Cup 2022 campaign by 101 runs.