“Kohli… Kohli…” Virat Kohli is one of those rare human beings on the planet, who spent his 35th birthday like no one else could. Engulfed by deafening chants of his name, and thousands of people lined up, hoping and praying for nothing but his 49th ODI century. After fans had poured all their love and affection for him throughout his career, they wanted only one thing in return. For him to score a hundred, on his birthday, and equal Sachin Tendulkar’s record that once seemed untouchable. Tendulkar, in the eyes of the crowd, wasn’t a mere mortal. He was a God. And no one expected a young, aggressive brat – the complete opposite of what Tendulkar had been – to enter the field and shatter records.
On November 5, at the Eden Gardens, no matter where you went – the parking lot, the food court, the stands – everyone seemed to be a Kohli fan. The phrase “Sport unites fans” couldn’t have been truer. Every kid, each parent, couples and old men and women had one thing in common – their love for Kohli. Just like the crowds worship Kohli, he once idolised Tendulkar. And when asked about equalling his childhood hero, he couldn’t believe what he had just done.
Chosen by destiny, loved by the crowds, despised by the opposition – Kohli seems to have it all. A young prodigy who taught us all the meaning of commitment, the lessons of determination, to stand your ground, to be fearless and, most importantly, the lesson of humility. Kohli knows very well that he’s about to leave his childhood hero behind and part the sea to uncharted territory. But he still believes that he will never be as good as Tendulkar.
To think that Kohli gifted the sacred threads (the ones worn on your wrist for good luck) given to him by his late father, and preserved for close to seven years, to Tendulkar after his last match at the Wankhede is truly a testament of how the senior man had impacted his life. And to think that now, Kohli has the same impact on millions of people is truly mind-blowing. The image of Kohli carrying his idol, the nation’s God, on his shoulders after winning the World Cup in 2011 is imprinted and etched deep into every Indian cricket fan’s mind. Someday, soon, someone will hopefully carry Kohli the very same way.
As someone who grew up watching him, as someone who would go home after practice and watch his drives on repeat, to be in that stadium and witness history – to see your cricketing idol shatter records that were deemed insurmountable – was spine-tingling. Kohli is the biggest thing in cricket right now. No one else has the kind of effect that he does, nor do they have as much power over the crowd. Be it a wav, a little dance or even a glance at the stands, and Kohli completely owns the crowd.
It’s the tapestry of cricket, and Kohli has been chosen by destiny. He stands as the living embodiment of fate’s design, marked by extraordinary circumstances and a profound sense of purpose. From humble beginnings, he rose to become a beacon of inspiration. His path seems to be predetermined by fate to make an indelible mark on the world. Driven by an inner fire and guided by a higher calling, he has inspired everyone who crossed his path. Records were meant to be broken… by Virat Kohli.
Gargi Raut at Eden Gardens, Kolkata “Kohli… Kohli…” Virat Kohli is one of those rare human beings on the planet, who spent his 35th birthday like no one else could.…
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