“In this journey of snakes and ladders, Kohli keeps climbing towards summits and he keeps falling back on the pit of errors, but as long as the dice keep rolling and the passion keeps burning, Kohli’s fanatics will keep hoping that the area around the fourth stump is thwarted, just as the targets are. Time and again. And again”.
Think. Write. Pause. Stop. Erase them all. What do you write about the magnanimous King? How do you celebrate the life and the achievements of the all-conquering, without for once stopping to repetition and running out of words, even if your vocabulary apes Shashi Tharoors’? Why is it so tough to keep chanting words of appraisal for the Herculean emperor, when you know that all has already been said and done? What’s new? What will stand out? How will you stand out?
Superb. Magical. Astonishing. Legend. Champion. Words that automatically creep onto you when the aforementioned hero stages yet another feat that will be scripted yet again across tabloids and screens all across. Emotions come pouring out once more like it has always oozed out, as you stand still to applaud the demi-god that stands before you. You stand spell-bound and mesmerised. You cheer vociferously and loud. You remain jealous and envious. But most of all, you smile. A deep, heartfelt smile.
You smile at his ability to transcend the daily struggles with ease and watch intently as he envelops into the world of tougher rituals. It seems exciting, you might think. Hours at the gym. Sweat and blood falling all over the exercise floor. A controlled diet. The shy glances at the mouth-watering delicacies all around, with the insatiable urge to relish them. Glares all over. Talks about the ominous presence of your wife. The sacrifice of not mourning your father’s demise but instead crossing the ropes, where a finer and a more rigorous test of emotions await you. The trial of playing for your country. With patience and toil. And with passion.
His eyes reek of vengeance. Not the blood-thirsty, blood-dripping one that the generation is so used to witnessing. His voice roars but with a tinge of humility in them. The ears listen to the compliments being showered all around him. Talks of him crossing over Sachin Tendulkar to stand as the greatest batsman of the era. Talks of his growing aura and his understated presence in the Indian camp. Talks of how Virat Kohli has changed the complexion of cricket since his arrival in 2008.
Suddenly, the Indian dressing room is a flutter of nerves and emotions. After the stoic-faced Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kohli’s arrival marked the heralding of an age when leaders started indulging in eccentric actions on the field. Actions which were unadulterated and unfiltered. The bat is thrown down when a wicket at the other end falls. The dismissed batsman is greeted with an unwelcome stare as he walks past the non-striker, having thrown his wicket away to a stupid shot. If looks could kill, Kohli would have stabbed every fielder who has dropped a catch. The opponent is ruffled up. The stump-mic catches hold of phrases that will hardly be approved by the censor board. The umpires bear his angst. The spectators bear his mood swings. The Kookaburra bears his cover-drives. The willow, his aspirations.
Aspirations to be the best that ever took the field. The yearning to push harder and harder. The desire to carry on from a hundred to one fifty to a double hundred. To jump high into the air and punch it with the choicest of words every time he plays a knock that saves his team from despair.
But even the phenomenon Joanne K. Rowling managed to scrap up her latest edition of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” after producing seven wonderfully woven tales of mythology. The un-faltering Hercules committed the unpardonable crime of murdering his children and Oedipus fell to the crimes of hamartia, wherein he refused to accept his fate and kept traversing the route of stubbornness and arrogance.
Kohli, through the Test series in South Africa, has shown glimpses of both excellence and mediocrity; flawlessness and mistakes; patience and immaturity. He baffled by his choices but wowed by his level-headed batting performances. He symbolised a cricketer playing for pride by persisting with Rohit Sharma over the experienced Ajinkya Rahane but when the team desperately needed his services, he unearthed his most human side on the batting crease.
Raw. Fiery. Determined. Focused. Striving to achieve goals; looking for ways to perfect his loopholes. And when he erupted, venom draining out from his soul, he gave glimpses of a legend who is prone to setbacks, but who still remains ever so hungry to latch on to the moments that will take him towards further glory.
In this journey of snakes and ladders, Kohli keeps climbing towards summits and he keeps falling back on the pit of errors, but as long as the dice keep rolling and the passion keeps burning, Kohli’s fanatics will keep hoping that the area around the fourth stump is thwarted, just as the targets are. Time and again. And again.