Virat Kohli fought really hard in the second innings of the Indore Test. Adversity and Australia squeeze out the best in him. With India facing a huge first innings deficit on the shit-cake of the Holkar wicket, Kohli applied himself beautifully and played his very best. He hit a glorious cover drive for four, and helped himself to an unintended boundary when the ball sailed over the slips. Never mind the inherent risk, or the dropped catch. Virat Kohli is not an unglamourous grinder in the mold of Chintu Pujara. No Sir, Virat is the enforcer of this marauding Indian side, the crucial number four, who likes to dominate the bowlers by taking the attack to them. He raced to 13 quick runs off 26 balls, and was then unfortunately caught plumb before the middle stump, attempting an audacious horizontal bat shot while aiming to dispatch the ball over the mid-wicket. It annoyed the greatest to miss out on that opportunity. But, no sweat, getting out is a part of the game. Of course, he shook his head in disbelief and sheer disappointment. He looked set for a daddy hundred. Even the commentators, the legendary shit-peddlers, narrated quite how they saw it- “looks in fine nick”, “set for a big one”, “middling the ball well”, and what not. But it was not to be. He fell short by 87 runs. Today was not Kohli’s day, but his methods have yielded enough rewards to justify their continuance. There is no point in hanging on if you can’t dominate the other side, and put some runs on the board. That is what Virat was up to when he got out.
In what can be described as his large-heartedness and maturity, Virat refused to avail of the DRS. Such unselfishness is the hallmark of a truly great man. Ravindra Jadeja would do well to learn some humility, magnanimity and selflessness from the ‘goat’ himself. Why waste a review when you have fair inkling that you have stepped onto shit? I know you shall point out to the first innings dismissal when the Virat availed of the review, despite being fully aware of where the ball had pitched and where was it headed. Or to that incredulous display of tomfoolery a couple of seasons back when he was desperate to ask the Question after getting clean-bowled by Moyeen Ali, but was thankfully dissuaded by his amused partner. Let us not use such far and few brain fades, like in the first test against Bangladesh in December 2022, to mock a genuine legend, and do not grudge him his occasional goof-ups. They play so much, such slip-ups are bound to happen. Today was not a day for Kohli to be selfish.
To add to his 22 vital runs in the first innings in which he had top-scored, and which were no less than 122 as per any fair valuation, coming on a square turner and everything, history shall also count these 13 gold nuggets-like runs as 130. That is because history is always kind towards those who are adept at self-promotion, and have the resources to hire agencies to sell their exploits in grandiloquent terms. Become a brand, sell it aggressively to retain your value. You just need to buy some pens, microphones and finger-tips to maximize favourable opinions, and the fear of ostracization to minimize unfavourable views about yourself. People shall move on tomorrow, then you disseminate your version of the make-believe.
Which is why you won’t find ex-cricketers, columnists and commentators discussing Kohli’s extended drought of test hundreds. Only selfish players play to score centuries or bolster their averages. 40 innings across 23 Tests in the past 40 months might not have yielded a single test hundred, but he has accumulated 1015 runs at healthy average of 26. Six fifties with the highest innings of 79 runs stand as testament of him being ‘almost there’. Cheteshwar Pujara scored a test hundred after an extended drought of 46 months and 28 Tests, so there is a worthy role model sitting right there. Virat’s job is to win test matches for India, and the proof of the pudding lies in the fact that we are the world number one side in tests, and are all set to play the second final at the World Test Championship. The current captain might be Rohit, and Rahane might have led India to a famous series victory in Australia, but this was and shall remain Virat’s side. All credit should go to him, or so the machinery says. How many can claim to possess such shameless hunger for appropriating credit?
Once again, I reiterate- ask not when the test century is coming, feel lucky that you were born in the era of Virat Mayur Kohli, who is still regarded as a test-great despite failing to play a single innings of eighty runs or above in almost forty months. If this not a scam of propaganda, it points to something very rotten about the health of the modern-day test cricket.
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