Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 21 – Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli is India’s pride. Whenever India looses an early wicket in limited overs, Virat Kohli always steps up coming in at number 3 position in the batting order. He is someone who can take the game away from the opposition and is a complete match winner. He is not just a good limited overs batsman, but is also a proper test match player who has got plenty of runs both home and away specially in the last 5 years. My next guest or should I say fan, in this Virat Kohli series of interviewing fans, is @18prajakta

Thank You so much for your participation in this interview, When was the first time you saw Virat Kohli on TV?

I was an 8 year old when I first saw Virat Kohli. World Cup is a mega event and it doesn’t even matter if it’s U-19 or for the senior team. A World Cup is a World Cup and that’s where I came across Virat Kohli. At that point of time I only knew him as the captain of our U-19 team. Virat Kohli caught my eye for his hunger to succeed and scale new peaks stemmed from his under-19 days, itself.

Have you been fortunate enough to meet Virat Kohli ? If you had a chance to meet Virat Kohli, what would be the first question you would ask him?

Yes, I have been fortunate enough to meet Kohli a lot of times. But, the three times which I won’t ever forget was once in 2012, during a test match. I remember missing out on school for five days just to watch this test match. I have woken up early because I wanted to be the first one to reach the stadium. Back in 2012, I met Kohli across the fence at the Wankhede Stadium. I was fortunate to get an autograph from him. I wished him all the luck for his match and he was generous enough to reply. Then in 2016, yet another test match in Mumbai. I remember waking up at 5am in the morning to reach the team hotel and that’s when I finally met Virat Kohli from just an arms distance I was lucky enough to get a picture with him. I told him everything that came into my mind at that time. I had tears in my eyes. In the end I just touched his feet. It was a surreal moment to see my idol at just an arms distance. And then in 2019, the departure World Cup press conference considered as one of the most important press conference, I was a part of that press conference and that’s where I met Kohli in a very professional manner, you can say. In 2019, when I met him I was a Journalist by profession. Post the conference I wished him all the best for the mega event and that’s where I was again lucky to be in the same frame as of my idol.

Your top 3 Virat Kohli knocks across all formats? (Mention 1 from Tests, 1 from ODI’s and 1 from T20s)

Across all formats, Virat Kohli is arguably one of the most talented batsmen to have graced the field in modern times. Although his test rankings have risen up the ranks after a subpar start to his career in the longest format of the game.
149 vs England, Birmingham, 2018
India were down and out losing five wickets even before scoring 100- runs. The English bowlers were on fire and history was clearly repeating itself. Then came the 29-year-old who walked down to the crease, he patiently walked past the phase where the bowlers were running riot. No top order batsman supported him from the other end, but he was keen to help his side get as close as possible to England’s first innings total. It was a knock which had determination written all over it.

No other Indian batsmen could score more than 30 runs in English conditions. Virat Kohli showed his leadership ability and perfect technique to score a century which the world will remember for a long time. He played mostly on off-side, but some of his leg glances were a treat to watch.
If 2014 was a horror story, 2018 was a fairy tale.
If 2014 was sin, 2018 was redemption.
And hence, this knock stands out as far as the longest format is considered.

How does one pick a top knock in ODIs for Kohli? The Indian captain now has 43 One-day International hundreds to his name and choosing one is a difficult task.

I would choose the knock that announced his arrival. February 28, 2012, announced the arrival of a rare talent, and from then on, there has been no looking back for Virat Kohli. The venue for this classic was the Hobart Cricket Ground in Australia. The Common Wealth Bank series was nearing its climax, and India took on Sri Lanka in a very important clash. For India to stay in contention for a place in the final, they had to chase down the Sri Lankan total inside 40 overs.

By the time Kohli smashed his 2nd boundary we knew a craftsman was at work. And once Kohli reached his hundred, he went on a rampage, unleashing a brutal assault on Malinga that will be talked about for ages. The 35th over bowled by Malinga read 2, 6, 4, 4, 4, 4. Sri Lanka’s premier bowler was absolutely shattered and the team was left in a daze. A knock which was highly rated by Kohli himself and a knock which no Indian would ever forget.

Men that provide moments that don’t fade away from the mind, they enrapture you and hold you captive, and you can recall their great performances even after years.
One such masterclass unfolded in the year 2016 from the willow of a man named Virat Kohli.
India expected him to deliver again – this time in a virtual quarter-final against Australia at Mohali.
Virat Kohli had done it before, but this time there was a spot in the semi-finals at stake, at home, they started as favourites. Virat Kohli was there and was up for it. He once again was phenomenal in a run-chase. The way he batted in Mohali was a delight to watch for any cricket fan. He belted the Aussie bowlers all around the park to complete another run-chase. This was an orthodox knock, text-book batting which got Kohli 82 runs in just 51 balls. Australia not for the first time, did not lose to a team, they lost to a man who knew what he had to do and was up for it. This is that one T20 knock which will be etched in my memory for a long long time.

What is that one thing about Virat Kohli, apart from his Cricketing abilities, that you like the most?

For telling us how important health and fitness really is. From leaving behind his favourite food, to hitting the gym on a regular basis, to turning into a vegan – he’s done it all just to lead by an example. He is undoubtedly one of the fittest athletes in the world today, irrespective of any sport. He is compared to the football legend Cristiano Ronaldo and the tennis great Rafael Nadal in terms of fitness and of course that’s a great feat. From a chubby boy who matured over the years not only on the field, but also off the field – fitness is that one aspect where Kohli has proved himself.

Which is that one biggest milestone, apart from most centuries in ODI’S, do you think Virat Kohli can break?

Virat Kohli has taken his game to dizzying levels.
It’s very difficult to predict what could happen in the future. But, on a standard level he’s just 31 years old with a lot of cricket left in him. A billion hearts beat as one when he walks down to bat. He still has a lot of bowling attacks to tame, a lot of battles to be won, a lot of records to be rewritten, and most importantly, a lot more matches to be won for India.

Your thoughts on Virat Kohli – The Captain?

The way Kohli is leading the team we can say that India will start to dominate just like they did in Australia and this will be proved in the many suck overseas tour of India in the coming days. Although, he’s not been lucky enough to go all the way in ICC tournaments. I wouldn’t really judge him on that since we’ve played two ICC tournaments under him where we have reached the finals and the semi-finals, respectively.
So next question is whether Kohli can handle pressure. I don’t think I need to answer that question. His record in chases speaks for itself.

Do you think we will be able to see the 2016 version of Virat Kohli in IPL ever again in the future?

2016 – was the Virat Kohli year. There are two things you know when you see Virat Kohli in action. One, there is excitement and desire to be the best in every thing he does. Other, he plays to win. Yes, every player does that, right? But not quite like Virat from bringing the entire stadium to life when everything seems dull to his batting which now everyone agrees is a piece of art in itself. There’s no limit set for Virat Kohli. The 2016 madness can be witnessed again or maybe it could be even more better and bigger.

Which is that one revolutionary aspect about Virat Kohli you are extremely fond of among these two – Is it the fitness aspect that he brought in the team or is it his on-field aggression that changed the mindset of India’s style of play?

I have mentioned about how his fitness allowed him to lead by an explain. So, I would say both – fitness and aggression changed the mindset.
That aggression, that palpable hunger to score runs, those emotions, that straight bat, that passion to succeed, the constant strive for improvement have all made him stand out amongst the pool of talented youngsters in the Indian Team. From going around showing middle-fingers to the fans. From abusing at the opposition without reason. He jumped and hopped and howled like his life was that one game being played and nothing beyond that. But, his aggression is his strength and if that helps him to do better for his team, than why not?

How do you think Virat Kohli will fare in this year’s IPL?

As a batsman, Virat Kohli has fared supremely well. So, I don’t think batting would be a concern this year as well. As a captain, this would be a testing year again. New members in the squad with much better bowling attack this year – RCB need to pull up their socks to at least make it to the top four it not all the way.

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