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Why you should treat yourself to Virat Kohli

by Gaurav Sethi

Soon, comparisons of Virat Kohli with Virat Kohli will start. How a bearded Virat Kohli compares to a clean shaven Virat Kohli. Or how a single Virat compares to a hitched Virat. Virat as captain vs Virat as a player. Virat with new tattoo, y'kno that kinda thing.
Not as if we'll forget about Sachin but the whole comparison thing will die out. We'll remain in the Kohli.
2016 has been that kind of year. And December, 10th, that kind of day. He crossed 500 runs in the series, he crossed 2000 runs as Test captain, he crossed 1000 Tests runs in the year, he crossed 4000 Test runs, he crossed the most international runs by a batsman in 2016, he crossed unseen hurdles, on the field, in the mind - he crossed another Test hundred, remaining not out on 147. He crossed a Test batting average of 50.
In between all of that, he made England very cross with themselves.
Virat Kohli's innings was a maestro's composition. It had every possible movement, gradual build up, crescendo, and then, just when you were flying with it, a low tilt, a dab, a trickle, the gaps he caught, the singles he snatched. The flights he took.
Chances are, you might have seen it all before, chances are, you've denied yourself.
But why? A disconnect with your old friend cricket? No time for sport? You've moved on?
These are uncertain times. Often joyless times. But also the times of Virat Kohli. No queue to stand in, take remote, turn the TV on. Switch on Virat Kohli, switch yourself on.
It could be the best thing you could do for yourself; as a lapsed fan, as a yet to be born fan.
For some reason, Keith disconnected his Tata Sky and only follows the match on cricinfo scorecards online or later on Hotstar replays. Shridhar talks of his old love for the game, shares his Class VIII-A winning picture on Instagram but doesn't watch cricket anymore. Mr Z complains there's way too much cricket, ridicules the IPL, and claims to only watch the World Cup once in four years.
Keith and I speak for close to an hour about the day's play when often he's not even seen a ball.
There is no substitute for Live sport. The plot unfolds in front of you. No words can build a narrative as beautiful as the players themselves. No replay can ever do what Live does. Take away that Live sign on the top right corner and you take away magic.
A magic that is compounded many times by Virat Kohli. Virat Live is quite possibly one of the best things in sport. It's a sinful, bottomless cup of wicked pleasures that have it all - it is Bollywood emotion, yeah, you know that, he's as 'senti' as they come -like how he celebrated Murali Vijay's century, then his own, the banter with Jadeja, followed by more banter with Jayant Yadav, how England had used all their reviews. With Yadav again, when England were sledging him, "bol de meri bowling khelni hogi".
No scorecard can tell you that. Perhaps a tweet or match report can. But they are mere words. Words cannot add flesh to Virat Kohli, hard as they might try. Only Virat Kohli can do that.
Through the calm in some partnerships, through the counter in others. Virat, walking in at the third ball of the day, when Pujara somewhat incredulously shouldered arms.
You can almost read his mind but you really can't, can you?
The waiting game. The build-up. The counter. The look on Virat's face. Did you see that?
Virat during referrals. Virat after the mini collapse after Ashwin fell. Still 93 runs behind. Virat after Jadeja fell. Still 36 behind.
Virat after England fell. Stumps, India 51 ahead.
If you have to fall for something, why not Virat Kohli? It's a Sunday, on the jingle jangle morning, he'll come following you.

First published here

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