Virat Kohli – Your average everyday superstar
Not many have the aura that he has, and yet, the fact that he is as normal as the next person is something extraordinary.
Updated - Apr 6, 2018 11:22 am
Yuzvendra Chahal picks up the white Kookaburra from Daniel Vettori’s baseball mitt. He takes one final look at his field placements. There is Gary Kirsten, the Challengers’ batting coach behind Parthiv Patel. Kirsten, as he had done when Indian coach, has a little notebook tucked away in his palm. Perhaps, he still has the notes he had made of a young Virat Kohli from all those years ago. He wouldn’t need it though. At least, given the batsman, the latter has become today.
Vettori, Kirsten, and Chahal take a glance around the M Chinnaswamy. Chahal makes final field placements before his hop-skip-jump to deliver the ball. The leggie takes one more moment – just to make sure before running in. The 29-year old Kohli takes a step down the track and drives it to deep extra-cover bringing the young Sarfaraz Khan on strike.
For an avid cricketing enthusiast like myself, all of what has been described above is breathtaking. Simply amazing. Scintillating. I can go on. But, there is something sinister that catches the eye. Something quite extraordinary. Something quite unexpected – especially because all players are in shorts and this is a mere training exercise.
It had all begun at the Parking Lot. On any given day, one will find ten cars scattered across the vast expansive column of ‘Link Road’ just beside the KSCA compound. On that day, the very same day Virat Kohli decided to don his gloves and pads there were over a hundred.
It seemed as though even an insect wouldn’t be able to navigate through the lot without bumping into a few tires and wheels.
It seemed to be the revival of the old ‘maidan’ cricket. Hundreds of eyeballs watched as the RCB skipper, in all his cricketing glory began easing his arms in preparation for the upcoming Indian Premier League.
At 29, he is playing the cricket of his life beyond a shout of a doubt. He strokes the ball as though he is applying cheese and butter to an entire loaf of bread at once. And that’s just his cover-drive. Each time the strike was handed back to him, the few hundred eyeballs scattered across the vast expanse of the Chinnaswamy would erupt.
It would be another three hours or so that Kohli would wield his bat. It also seemed to many (I can’t imagine this being just me), that the bowlers loathed bowling to him. It was no use for neither Chahal nor Khejroliya. Even the erstwhile Aniket Chowdhury seemed to show little interest. In fact, he had found himself a nice little spot down at deep mid-wicket. Away from the eyeshot of ‘Coach Dan’ at least.
Three hours later, a solitary drop of sweat appeared on his brow. He could go on for another 15 hours or so. One could travel from Tokyo to Mountain View and Kohli wouldn’t have finished batting. His fitness and stamina are one of a kind – Novak Djokovic-esque. But, the sweat leading down from his temple is a minor indication – that he is done for the day.
As he walks away, the same three hundred odd fans cue up at the P1 stand. They came to get a glimpse of the quintessential face of Indian cricket, so to speak. Instead, they got three hours. Of course, it wasn’t against the likes of Mitch Starc or Dale Steyn. They were treated to a masterclass anyway. It’s plain and simple – That is just how he bats.
He greets Ashish Nehra en route to the haven of the dressing room. It’s surprising. He looks as fresh as ever. Wearing a smile, he quips about something with the bowling coach before making his way up the stairs into the dressing room.
As he bounced up the steps and towards the dressing sheds, although he would have noticed it sparingly from the corner of his eye, a little girl with a notebook and a pen clasped in her palm, ‘Virat I love you!’
That right there told a story. A distinct one at that as well. That is why he is chased by all the upcoming brands around the world. That is why he is who he is. He is Virat – the most loved cricketer in India at the moment.
A few moments later, he re-emerged from the dressing room. Clad in shorts and flip-flops, he came up to greet the fans in P1. Perhaps a small ‘Thank you for coming,’ was on the cards. He walked up to the little girl in the red dress, signed her notebook for her before interacting with the hundreds of fans who had made their way, just to get a whiff of him.
When Virat moves, people follow!
If he would let them, they would follow him as well. He was and still is the pied piper. ‘Kohli Kohli,’ they all screamed as he took a good half-hour to sign autographs and take pictures.
As an individual, who is not even marginally famous as many others, I have been around individuals who have had the blessing of fame in the past. Hell yes! They do get their fair share of ‘fan following’. I have been around these people and know what it feels like.
Yet, there is something about Kohli that simply drives people crazy. There are very few people around the world, let alone athletes, movie stars, politicians, etc. who have this effect on people. And that is not all! He still makes time to come and sign autographs and interact with fans. He may be among the class of Michael Jordan or a Roger Federer. But, he still is your average and everyday superstar.
He is the same guy who tells you – ‘I will win the IPL trophy this year.’