For one, it's not a day job
Virat Kohli checks in a little before 10pm. He tends to prefer the night shift. Some of his colleagues who were supposed to be on the late shift turn up but have to leave early.
There's always an excuse, the long night ahead doesn't suit them, it's way too demanding, other commitments, whatever, they just can't hang in long enough to see the job through. Some can't handle the lights. Others the pressure. They wilt. They vanish. They go where they came from. They wait for Kohli to do their job. And his. And someone else's too.
That doesn't bother Kohli. He likes to take on the extra load. He doesn't look at it as doing someone else's dirty work. He just does it. As if it was a game or something. As if there was an element of fun to it. As if, if you were good enough at what you do, and you keep doing it, you could actually win at the end of the day.
At day's end, Virat Kohli won. Again. Maybe it's not a job for him. It's much, much more. It's a musical score.
It's constructed with a full- fledged orchestra in tow. The knock against Australia started with a swift few stabs of the double bass - he opened with twin boundaries. It quickly looped into something humdrum, like everyday life, there was a headiness of Beethoven to it.
As his mates fell all around him, he played the lone fiddle. He held back, single after single, ten singles before he allowed himself an extravagant two, he ran on three legs, two of his own, one of his mate's. This was a piece with tragedy, with the human spirit bossing that tragedy written all over it. His bat was his baton. And the symphony had already played out in his mind, as it had many times before.
This though, seemed even more grand. After a winter of hardship, of frugal singles, spring! A six. Could it be Mozart? Not really. Spring was fleeting, winter was back, as were the singles.
But Virat Kohli was the DJ out there. This was classical meets trance. Suddenly all the high notes in Virat Kohli's head started to play out all at once. Bollywood. Goa trance. Remixes. Virat was in the house. This knockout match was his soul.
He had India on a string. Again. He was pulling on our heartstrings. Again. He had all the world's instruments playing together as they do in that climax to beat all climaxes.
Virat Kohli was beating them all. And himself. He knew that precise moment when we did. When that scorcher of a lead guitar ripped through the Mohali skies across the boundary. It was his second six in the eighteenth over. What followed was the most intimate jam session between Kohli and his bat: four-four-four-four. 20 off 10 was squeezed down to four runs off six balls.
"We're not worthy!!!"
Kohli was off strike. It seemed apt. He had won the match, scoring the winning runs would've denied us a thing of beauty. When Dhoni muscled the first ball of the 20th over for a boundary, taking India into the semi finals, Virat went down on his knees. At his knees was his bat. He appeared to have bowed down to those two-and-a-half pounds of divinity.
What transpired between the two was a very private moment. Virat's bat is his musical instrument. It's his double bass guitar. The notes are running in his head but that chunk of wood still gotta play 'em out.
That chunk of wood is an extension of Virat Kohli. Virat is the sum of those hard hours put in, day after day, that somehow make the two appear seamlessly like one. And when they come together, as they did in Mohali, it's a job well done. Not a 9-to-5 job or a rough night shift but a happy musical outing. Which leaves us asking for more. And the maestro obliges. With yet another encore.
And the chase starts again. There are some albums you can hear a million times over, and each time there's something new to them. Meet Virat Kohli, the musical. Press play.
First published here