It’s been a while since the world has seen you pump your clenched fists in the air after those blistering centuries that you used to smash. A lot has changed since then. The responsibilities, the dynamics, the style that you spawned in the middle of the park and whatnot, in fact, you changed too.
This won’t be a song of praise to you but a ranting of a hopeless believer in you. You know I have been fighting the world in the hope of the fact that every new innings will see you rise from the ashes. Sadly, it doesn’t. There are times when you raise hopes by getting the starts and then there are days when you play a clueless stroke and get out to the roaring opposition fans.
There is a reason why I mentioned opposition fans. The sadistic pleasure that they derive from your dismissal is way more hurting than the raised fists of Anderson and Robinson. Apparently, there is a cricket fan who is just waiting out there on Twitter to stitch together your negatives and turn it into a saga of underperformances to the world.
To be honest, I am tired of just hearing these about you. I am tired of people telling you that go learn a lesson from Sachin Tendulkar about how to play an innings without a single cover drive. Why will you? You are not Sach. You are Virat and the name itself is too sacred for us fans to be compared.
Do you know why I am such a big fan of yours? It is because of your originality, because of the fact that you remain yourself no matter what the world says. Honestly, that is what makes Virat the fearless captain of the Indian cricket team. You may not be as patient as Tendulkar was but the aggression that you bring to the field to hammer a swinging Jofra Archer at 150 clicks to the ropes is something that only you can do.
You may not raise a desert storm against Shane Warne at Sharjah but in the 2016 T20 World Cup when India was down and out against the mighty Aussies, it was your relentless belligerence and perfection that sailed us through to the semis.
In the 2011 World Cup final, when India was wobbling with the early departure of Sachin and Sehwag, you were the unsung hero who joined forces with Gautam Gambhir to weather the early storm. A string of remarkable performances stitched together is what forged the Indian captain, Virat Kohli.
You know there is a ring to the sound of “Indian captain”. It may not be as pompous as the Indian army but believe me, it is as glorious as those billion dreams that pinned their hopes on you when Sachin left. Being ardent followers of cricket, we Indians prefer a beacon at the top of our flag to scream their names when he takes the pitch. It was Sachin before and now it is you.
The expectations are exceptionally high from you given the bar that you have set for yourself but the fact that you are not able to reach it now makes us question our belief in our idol.
You know what, Virat, every hero needs a fall. Every leader needs a tumble. Every God needs blame and every human needs hell to rise from the ashes. Shashi Tharoor once quoted, “To be born again, first you have to die. To land upon the bosomy earth, first one needs to fly! How to ever smile again, if first you won’t cry? How to win the darling’s love mister, without a sigh?”
The contradictions or paradoxes of life are what pave the path of a true champion. Every single hero that we talk about never had it easy. They suffered, they struggled and they came out stronger. That is what made them the hero or the champion that they are.
This is a phase where your true mettle as a cricketer is tested. This is where that transcendence from being a mere mortal to an unforgettable God is done. However, we won’t be able to help you. Rather, we cannot help you. After all, when we humans are tested by Gods, we don’t spare them the curses and you are still just a mortal.
Virat, with every single breath of our cheers for you, comes a belief in a symbol of excellence. You are that symbol. Virat, with every single fight we battle for you, comes a hope that you will not let us down again. Captain, with every single second of disappointment that you forge on the field, comes a strong desire that in the very following game, I will once again stand back up and bang my chest like King Kong to scream that Virat is back.
It is tough and that is how it is supposed to be. With every bit of love comes a reason to hate. Indians fans haven’t even spared Sachin when he went through hell. I must say that they are much more civilized now and don’t believe in vandalizing property anymore. But believe me, they are hurt. All these little misses from your end are hurting us to the very core.
When I don my Indian jersey with your name scribed on my back, it feels as if I am possessed. It is a matter of pride for me. The national emblem on the chest and your name and number 18 on the back make me roar.
I know Virat that these are hellish times but I won’t stop believing. I will fight with everyone who says ill off you and defend you until my dying breath. However, I hope I am speaking on behalf of a billion Indians that we believe in you. Can you please not take us back to the golden times when you thumped your chest and punched the air after those thunderous centuries in Australia and England? Please, Virat, once more.
We want to scream our hearts out, “Virat, Virat!!!!!” We are willing to make every single sacrifice that we should, to see you perform again. However, if someone can make the impossible happen again that is my captain, you. Captain, O Captain!
A crazy cricket fan