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Virat Kohli - the greatest showman cricket has ever seen

Last updated on 09 Oct 2023 | 09:12 AM
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Virat Kohli - the greatest showman cricket has ever seen

When Kohli is there, the crowd are destined to be entertained

It is a little over 32 degrees celsius here in Chennai, Google says. 

Over 15,000 people at the Chepauk beg to differ. Just a day before the ultimate clash between India and Australia, rain gods sprayed the city with some thunderous downpour. But a day later, it was a one-way traffic from the Sun God, who showed no mercy whatsoever. 

Chepauk has always been faithful to the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings. But this was no IPL, and there was no more a calm and composed figure of MS Dhoni that the city had fondly grown watching and witnessing. 

If anything, Dhoni is the epitome of going against the trend, a figure that always found a way to find composure even on the toughest grounds. Without their Thala, the crowd were properly divided, not into two but three — with the return of Ravichandran Ashwin. 

There was Rohit Sharma’s army of Hitmen, the ferocious followers of Virat Kohli, and the Kutti story fan following of Ashwin. The leftovers were either neutrals or hardcore Australian fans, who patiently waved their placards, welcoming Glenn Maxwell “home”. 

Confusion with tickets meant that Chepauk was only half-full, or rather only 60% full, much to the surprise of the fans who have been flocking to the ground historically. They have never seen such a Chepauk, much to their confusion of BookMyShow classifying the game as ‘sold out’. 

Maybe the mirrors will answer the question of sell-out for the online platform, denying the Indian team of their faithful. 

With the soaring heat taking over the centre stage, cricket was like it was played in a minimised window pane. Every few overs, there were two-three substitute fielders marching their way onto the ground, with plenty of electrals to restore the electrolytes in the body. 

A few overs later in the innings, there were towels drenched in cold water that were put through the shoulders of the players. After a few minutes, it was a chair. So, the heat in the capital city of Tamil Nadu was taking precedence over the sport. But one man ensured that all eyes were fixated on him - Virat Kohli

Kohli might have been unaware of the temperature, but he was well aware of the pulse of the audience. Every time he sensed a dip in the energy levels, he went over and lifted the spirits of the audience, asking them to raise the bar of support. The 34-year-old might be considered as one of the all-time greats of the sport. Naturally, the numbers reflect that. 

But more importantly, Kohli’s impact on the game is multifold. Cricket has always been viewed as a sport for the wealthy, a sport for the riches. Even though the tickets cost a bomb here at Chepauk, the view was a lot more valuable - it was the Chennai crowd getting a real glimpse of the Greatest Showman the sport has ever seen, Kohli. 

Kohli was swaying, and so were the crowd. When Kohli jumped across his left, it was proper showtime. The extra few hoops that followed the catch were enough for the crowd to go bonkers. Some at the venue even went overboard with their praises for the former Indian skipper, uttering words like ‘**ha (wow) what a catch, da”. 

Others remained stunned, as they kept raising their jerseys to show Australia who they were playing against - Kohli, the man who lifts his game to a level where numbers don’t really matter. The DJ kept reminding everyone, “The Summer seems to last forever”, paying tribute to Bryan Adam’s famous number, Summer of 69. 

Amidst all of that, there was a Punjabi munda, making the pakka Local Chennai crowd cheer his name. Kohli’s biggest attribute - not his batting, not his fielding, but his behaviour on the pitch - goes severely unnoticed. 

Despite the Chennai crowd seated directly in the surveillance of the sun, devoid of energy due to the zapping nature of the beast, they swayed to every Kohli action. The best moment from the first innings really only panned out when Kohli wasn’t directly involved in any of the action. 

The host wanted Chepauk to show their support for Kohli, and went “Kohli, Kohli”, but the former Indian skipper turned his motion towards the host and pointed at “Bumrah”, almost indicating that he was the guy who was doing the work. For someone who has achieved a truckload of things in life, these are the simpler things that garner your attention.


At 2/1, India’s innings got off to the worst start possible. But the crowd were roaring. It was almost like “Sivanum Sakthiyum” were coming together. Until then, there were sections of the crowd saying “Rohit, Rohit,” but now there was a unison, it was Rohit-Kohli together. 

The crowd didn’t wait for Kohli to walk out. They flocked in numbers towards the Indian dressing room, almost like wanting a piece of the former skipper. Then DJ Zen did the most Zen of things and played out the chartbuster number. 

From the dressing room to the centre of the pitch, a batter normally takes around 45 seconds. By now, Zen did all the number-crunching. He wasted no time and started with the best possible line to sum up Kohli. 


Mr. Leo Das Is A Badass

He’s A Freakin’ Badass”

Just when Kohli was taking his guard, the speaker went “Idhu Varayila Nallavan Irundhan (You should have left him when he was good), Badass Mr. Leo Das Is A Badass, Indha Kandhayila Ratchasa Mugam Dha (The devil is awake, the story is about to end), Badass”

Kohli’s demeanour on the cricketing pitch is perhaps best summed up by that song. He’s a freaking badass. And, when he walked out, you could see it in his eyes that he was there for the kill. The moment Mitchell Marsh spilt the catch, the writing was on the wall: Kohli was going to eat the Australian team alive. 

The loudest cheer of the night was when Kohli brought up his half-century, and you could sense that the roof was being brought down. 

“Palla Rajakala Pathachuda (He’s seen many kings, and slayed them), Ivvan Kaththi Romba Kooru Achuda (His sword is pretty sharp), Leo Leo Leo Leo Veridhan HaHa.. (Leo, he’s something else). 

Kohli was, at that time, slaying the King (Australia) in the most Australian way, mercilessly. His sword (bat) was pretty sharp, and his feet were running as if he had borrowed a few limbs from Cheetah in a heat that was near unbearable. Kohli is something else. 

While the crowd continued to banter with Mitchell Marsh, chanting “Thank you Marsh,” during the 33rd over, Kohli was doing the most Kohli of things - chasing down a total. The disgust on his face after his dismissal only showed that Mr Kohli is a badass. 

"Kohli, Kohli, Kohli, veri dhaan"

And the day out for the Kohli faithful at the Chepauk was “Bloody Swe(a)et.”

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