"Even after playing for 10 years, I don't feel like I'm entitled for anything here," Kohli told BCCI.tv. "You still have to work hard for every run you score at the international level while playing for your country because they're many people who want this very badly and when you're in that position yourself, you should have that same hunger and passion. You should never take things for granted, never take it easy at any stage."
Captaining India is a tough task, especially as the No.1 batsman in the world - as Tendulkar found out - but to have simultaneously scaled unprecedented heights as a batsman is a tribute to Kohli's mental resolve as well as physical fitness. Additionally, despite the constant glare of the spotlight, Kohli's focus has rarely deviated, highlighted by the 20 ODI hundreds in successful chases.
"I've been able to push my physical abilities and my mental abilities on just focusing on what the team needs, and in that process more runs have been scored than maybe I would have otherwise if I was thinking about my own batting or anything like that," he said. "So I've just focused on the situation, and I'm glad that I've been able to help the team by contributing with the bat. My duty is to score runs and having done that for a long period now, everything has collected together for this moment but the intention always should be every game, every situation to look for what the team needs and just score as many runs as possible."
But above all, his greatest source of joy remains more homespun in nature - to have been able to play the game this long, with a few years left in the tank.
"To understand you've come so far in your career playing for 10 years is something quite special to me because I love the sport so much and you want to play it more and more, and that for me is the most important thing, so I'm just happy that I'm able to play for this long and hopefully many more years to come," he said. "I never thought I could achieve this feat or I would get to this stage. I always thought I just want to play for India, I never thought that this day would arrive and it just tells me that if you're focused on the process and the right things then these things become irrelevant after a while."