In 2008, Kohli was taken in the Indian Cricket ODI team for the tour of Srilanka and the Champions Trophy to Pakistan. He scored his first fifty in the fourth match, at an age of 19. Kohli was taken as a replacement for an injured Shikhar Dhawan for the unofficial test tour to Australia where he batted once and scored 49. In 2008, during India’s England tour, although Kohli was a part of the team, he did not get a chance to play in the team due to the presence of Tendulkar and Sehwag. He was also selected in the four-team Emerging Players Tournament in Australia in 2009 where his performance impressed the world.
Kohli started to be taken in most of the series that India played around this time but was taken more as a replacement of injured players rather than being taken as a permanent and indispensable player. The feat with IPL, however, continued where Kohli continued to play exceptionally well and earn accolades.
In 2010, since Tendulkar was rested from the team, Kohli found a chance to play in all the 5 matches of the tri-nation ODI tournament in Bangladesh. In the match against Bangladesh, when India while chasing 297 was struggling at 51/3, Kohli scored 91 to help India win the match. Kohli played exceptionally well becoming the highest runner in the series and became the third batsman in the world to score two ODI centuries before their 22nd birthday, the first two being Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. He was praised for his outstanding performance, especially by the Indian captain M.S. Dhoni.
Kohli was named as the vice-captain in the tri-series against Srilanka and Zimbabwe 2010 itself and there was no looking back. He became the fastest Indian batsman to reach 1000 runs in ODI cricket. Although he struggled with his form sometimes, but his perseverance earned him a permanent spot in the Indian team. He played in the International World Cup and was one of the main players who steered India to victory after 28 years.
Kohli however, earned the tag of an ODI player due to his high run rates and was not thought to be a Test player by the experts of cricket. He proved everybody wrong when he made 132 in the test tour of Australia, 2011. With his consistent performances and aggressive style, he was chosen unanimously as the captain for tests when Dhoni retired from the 5 day format in the 2014/15 series against Australia.