Virat Kohli has turned 34-years-old. It’s a day to celebrate. It’s a day to rejoice. But is it a day to remember?
In truth, one needn’t even say it akin to “Remember The Name,” which were the golden words of a certain Ian Bishop. For there’s very little chance that batters like Virat Kohli would be forgotten anytime soon.
Cherish them whilst they are active on the pitch for you’d be quick to call them names the moment the swansong melody has played its course out.
Moreover, Virat Kohli has earned them all and on his own. Runs, plenty of them, tons, many of them, now 71, if that helps the critics. And not all; but countless knocks in run chases that have made Cricket an uplifting sport.
The biggest draw of them all came a fortnight ago. When right out of nowhere Kohli lifted his Indian team in a contest that really seemed to be going Pakistan’s way, his compelling, logic defying unbeaten 82 off 53 lent a crunch game an almost do or die feel.
We, the oblivious who do the criminally stupid of laughing at greats at the back of a lean patch that seems to run longer than what most Indian soap operas do were shown our places.
They said, the “King is back!” And those sorts of things ensued. Of course, he was. Though maybe, he hadn’t left; for the greats don’t really leave; they give us mortals a chance to live our fifteen seconds of fame.
But having said that, having seen Virat Prem Kohli entertain and enthrall audiences all along, is it not time that we the fans give him something in return too?
Maybe time has come for Virat Kohli’s fans to give a birthday present that he’d never forget. Let’s hope so.
For sure, he won’t eat cakes or anything sugary of that sort. Right?
But here’s some food for thought.
Much of Cricket today is about commerce; the number of tickets sold, runs scores, overs bowled, the finer details of sporting life. Though, in truth, there’s more.
Never before in the sport’s massive history as a unifier of people has India seen another great post the ‘Master’ Sachin Tendulkar.
God to a world of mortals and those who despite knowing they don’t own the world accommodate no space whatsoever to atheists.
But after Tendulkar, one of the world’s greatest batsmen of any era and one where excellent cricketers were known perhaps with more acceptable (read not so heavy duty nicknames), there was the “Little Master” or shall we say, the “original little master?”
Those were the days of Sir Sunny Gavaskar, who, one’s not sure deserves to be called Sunny G. Maybe the current generation isn’t that busy after all to pronounce his full surname; after all AI is already there to make things easy as such.
But was Sunil Manohar Gavaskar the only generational great of that era; wasn’t Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards there as well?
Imagine the indescribable beauty of a generation where such legends reigned big and whilst they did, they did keep the integrity of Cricket alive with musings of the bat, not by acrimony and shenanigans that often accompany today’s sport – and at times- rather needlessly as we know it.
But again, that wasn’t a time where the sands of commerce, surely important but not the end of the world, hadn’t yet consumed the game in a way it has today.
Having said so, while the aforementioned and even those that exist but aren’t yet given their due- think Kallis, Sangakkara, Dravid, even Mahela and Younis Khan (who we’ve conveniently forgotten but mustn’t be forgiven for having done so)- have done a lot for us fans, can’t we, the fans, get our acts together?
The thing passionate fans should now think of is how not to pressurize King Kohli with pulling of miracles.
And before the author of the piece is misunderstood and his life made miserable by, “how dare you doubt our hero” rhetorics, let it not be misunderstood that it’s not because the former captain cannot pull it off, but it’s because if Virat fails to deliver, for instance, we mustn’t hold it against him.
It is about time that we must regarded the fact so easily forgotten in the event of a failure with the bat that he’s proven himself worthy ever since 2009’s Eden Garden heroics against Sri Lanka.
In a country that feels passionately about pretty much anything under the sun, be it a hot cup of tea or what brand of mascara should one wear and what one carefully discard, be it lies on WhatsApp or discussing what Mutual Funds to invest in, it’s about time we had it easy on our very special man.
By the way, Jason Holder too shares his birthday with the former all-format Indian captain, but anyways, let bygones be bygones.
Whilst Kohli believes in giving it back to his opponents as we’ve seen so very often, he’d not believe in being given names along with unreal expectations us fans have of him.
King Kohli. Master-blaster Kohli.
Here’s why we must now learn and actually mature much like that West Delhi boy that we thought was only loud and crude, but one who knows a thing or two about being graceful.
Social media, we must understand, is fundamentally a fan boys’ dugout not necessarily that of the fan alone.
And do you know what- it is here, where people have crossed their limits to interact with Kohli or should one say, pass on their message to the man who’s turned 34.
Creatives; wallpapers, congratulatory notes, quotes that well and truly uphold the greatness of Virat Kohli throng the Indian fan groups on both Twitter and Facebook.
While that is not bad, the obsession surrounding them is the issue.
And with Instagram now forming such a definitive part of human existence, what’s truly happened is that praise has criticism for company. Often, that criticism knows nothing about being “constructive,” and is in fact, lamentation.
That social media is the pitwall of hell on a batsman’s off day is common truth. You know it already.
The three years that Virat- 24,350 runs to his name- wasn’t able to score a ton, serve prima facie evidence.
At a time where the so called worshippers of dignity and worship should have practiced the very virtue they were preaching, they wrote Kohli off.
Well, I didn’t! Not because I was not interested in having a look at just what had gone wrong with the great batsman, because I do realize that people must be given a break.
Not that they become Kit-Kat-esque with the bat but well, to err is human. Have Sachin, Lara, Ponting, Dravid, Sir Viv, Sir Gavaskar, and those that came before, Sir Sobers not failed before?
One notes that that this polarisation of a cricketer, wherein the one loved on most days but berated the very other, contributes in creating an ocean of toxicity.
And when that’s there, imagine how hard must it be for the one, at least, trying to find a way out, to bear such toxicity?
It is time that we accepted the truth that Cricket has no space for trollers.
They have no space in a sport that you and I know as the “Gentleman’s game.”
And come what may, Virat the gifted batsman, the committed athlete, the master blaster of his generation will always find it hard to beat the number of clicks or views an article generates that doesn’t necessarily dwell on his heroics but weaknesses or pitfalls.
Think the failed series in England in the past or the downer against that very side earlier in 2022!
Even when he was struggling to regain what we consider to be his ‘beast mode,’ we failed to take into consideration that his classy shots hadn’t actually bereft him; we were unjust in our harsh critique of him.
We ought to remember is that there’s something that has made the man admired by all in Delhi to become the best India have in business even today.
It’s that Virat Kohli, the greatest sorcerer with the bat or not, is still trying to do his bloody best for India as he must. We, the intrepid fans, must let him do that and make space for accepting what we stupidly forget-
That to err is human just as it is possible for a human to achieve superhuman feats with the bat. And for doing the latter for close to a decade and a half, Kohli must be saluted; but again not obsessed madly about.