Kohli, sitting in the first row, had a smile on his face — perhaps a mask to counter the pressure exerted by the expectations. Every place he goes to, be it the airport, bus station, hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, he hears the very same clamour — all the best with the World Cup and bring the Cup home. Sachin Tendulkar used to get 200 messages a day in 2011 wishing him luck to get the 100th ton. With technology having grown exponentially since, Kohli must be getting 1000 messages a day, not to mention Twitter and Facebook. Yet he has to smile and soak it all in. He is captain of India and a billion people expect superhuman things from him.
Kohli loves to live in the present and believes in the simple theory that you need to be the best prepared to get the best rewards and that preparation is not only about batting, bowling and fielding. That’s why you see his team play paintball in Southampton, engage in quiz contests between themselves and do innovative drills. Aware that the World Cup is perhaps the most hyped tournament of his captaincy reign so far, Kohli is doing all possible to treat it like yet another competition. Ask him and he will tell you that there is nothing special about the Pakistan game. He is aware that a hyperactive media is there to consume each word he says and one false comment will turn into a massive controversy. Kohli needs none of it ahead of the World Cup. At the same time he is clear and forthright. He speaks his mind at press conferences. Cricket is surely his life but it is not all consuming . That’s his way of releasing pressure and keeping himself battle ready.
He has already beaten Australia in Australia in a Test series earlier this year. No Indian team in 71 years between 1947-2019 had done that. If he and his boys go on to win the World Cup, there is no doubt that Virat will go down as India’s most successful captain of all time. And he knows that. It can be surmised that he does think of it all when he is alone. But for the world he will not entertain such fantasies and will take it one at a time — play each game on merit and bat each ball as it comes to him. With each run that he scores, he will get India close to the dream that the country is living with him 24x7 for the next month and a half.
Kohli, to a legion of Indian cricket fans following the World Cup, is the ultimate symbol of hope. The gladiator who is at ease with his bat on the 22-yard strip against the world’s best bowlers. We have all witnessed his prowess in the last few years. What we haven’t seen is captain Kohli leading India to a World Cup win. And that’s what he is after, to create a legacy unrivalled and unmatched.
No one really knows if Virat will be able to fulfil his dream. While India will first have to make the last four, anything can happen post that in a knockout encounter. A superb innings or a fantastic bowling effort by a rival can throw a team out of the World Cup and Kohli, having suffered the ignominy in 2015, understands that well. But he also knows what he can control — his preparation. As he takes field against South Africa on Thursday, Kohli would take the pressure and the opposition bowling head on. And all of this because he is the best prepared that he can be, his simple life philosophy.
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1 Comment on this Story
Rohith 512 days ago