On March 23, when BCCI uploaded a video of multiple missed opportunities from Virat Kohli at the slip, the caption read ‘Virat Kohli's brilliant fielding effort in the slips,’ and that was really the sign of things, that was not the end of it and neither was it the start of things.
This campaign started ages ago and by ages, it might even have been a lot of years now. Ever since he took the captaincy, he promised to change Indian cricket and of course, he did - for the better in his first stint as a political figure but come to his second, there was already the perception that the good days were gone by and there was never going to be a lot in the future.
But as determined as a few politicians have been, he didn’t stop there and did what he does the best - shallow promises and promoted an eerie sense of mysticism, where no one really understood or knew what he was upto and that was it, he wasn’t on the verge of being ready, he was ready! Politics was his cup of tea, of course, without milk but the way he milked his agenda, it never seemed he was vegan, not even one bit.
He started his promises long back when India had seemingly trusted the duo of Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar in the 50-over format and that was not just it. Kohli hailed the Tamil Nadu all-rounder as very unlucky, before stating that he’s very close to a defining innings.
“But I personally felt he (Vijay Shankar) looked really solid. There’s not much that needs to be tinkered. Sometimes in cricket, you just need a bit of luck to get over from 30 to 60, and then you play a defining knock for the team. He’s very close to that, and we’re very confident he’s going to end up playing that kind of knock for us,” Kohli said in 2019.
When a player gains a captain’s trust, it becomes a given-thing that he is going to feature for a long time but with Virat Kohli, neither the trust nor the player survived. Two years from then, he wasn’t elusive to a century or a five-wicket haul, he was out of the Indian team, not even in the scheme of things. Now let’s cut some slack, it wasn’t all Kohli in it, the all-rounder’s fitness was as fragile as china grass on a good razor day.
But what about Pant, the man who seemingly had solved a million problems or a problem of millions, rather, when MS Dhoni called it a day and took that famous sabbatical from international cricket. Consistently, Kohli was calling for ‘support’ from the Indian fans, Pant trusted him, and why wouldn’t one especially when someone is supporting you in front of the public.
However, as it turned out, Pant understood it that day and we are continually understanding it, it was not Kohli who spoke but the politician in him which uttered those words of support. A glance at any Star Sports segment for an Indian game, you would definitely find how important the Indian skipper is, at least on the television. He isn’t just Kohli, not even just Virat and definitely not, Virat Kohli. He is Super-V, Super Politician - one that has built a reputation out of shallow promises and mysticism, well politics in short.
It all really started making sense after that, especially when he was with his IPL side - Royal Challengers Bangalore. When he walked out and said that Aaron Finch was great, Dale Steyn’s experience is invaluable amidst a lot of other stuff. That’s where the fire really ignited, he didn’t trust the both of them, even worse, opening himself in the final game before crashing out. Now that’s RCB, that’s Kohli and that’s exactly where the lines of politics overshadow with the lines of leadership, in case the same.
When it didn’t stop there, the problem really arose, not for him but people around him. There were sections in the Indian public, who clearly were convinced that he was the man, he was their leader and god. India is one country where the lines are often blurred between politicians, pranksters and public figures. Kohli wasn’t just an Indian cricketer anymore, he wasn’t just an Indian skipper anymore, he was a Delhi-headed politician, who knew what he was doing.
Remember his statement before the five-match T20I series, the one that nearly killed several cricketing careers? Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma - India’s first-choice three openers in the shortest format. Come to the second game, Dhawan was dropped; Ishan Kishan played. Two games later, he wasn’t there anymore, there were Rohit and Rahul at the top. One game later - there wasn’t Rahul even, there was Kohli there, himself, not just for the team but for himself.
Having had a stinker of a series in the middle-order, where he was losing more games than winning one for the country, Kohli took it upon himself to open the innings, not to prove a point alone but to destroy several points of context. Like Thanos snapped his fingers, Kohli strapped his gloves on, Rahul swapped his jersey for a bib, only to not know when he would see the light next. Yuzvendra Chahal, one of Kohli’s trusted aides, disappeared and so did all the trust that he seemingly built around him but the public was there, still adding the one and twos that he scored.
When he came out, all-guns-blazing, not for a match but for the pre-match press conference, Kohli didn’t just speak about Dhawan, Rohit or Rahul, he spoke about umpiring errors. Kohli uttered those words, ‘umpiring is crazy bit-bat’ and suddenly, the entire world opinion on the issue changed. He wasn’t fighting for India, for BCCI or hell even Asia, he was fighting for the entire world. The politician in him arrived, left an indelible mark - especially when he made people agree with him, agree with every bit.
So when BCCI posted that video, it was the final-straw, Indian cricket was sold, their new politician, one who seemingly has built a ‘culture’ in Indian cricket had finally arrived - Virat Kohli and he brought out that spectacled spectacle to show that the politician in him was out, it was right there, shallow promises and mysticism involved road to politics. The Indian skipper didn’t arrive, hell it wasn’t even Virat Kohli, it was the master-mind politician, the ‘Chanakya’ of it all - Shree Virat Kohli, who arrived. Stop the music and dance to his tunes.
PS: Beware, Rohit Sharma, he is coming for you and your IPL throne, better lookout instead of looking away.