Virat Kohli’s stepping down from the captaincy role of the Royal Challengers Bangalore stable was as dramatic and painful a saga to endure as was the ending of the wildly acclaimed nineties cult classic Titanic.
To this day, one relishes seeing a glorious saga called Titanic. And for time immemorial shall one discuss and relive the IPL; its memories, its scintillating talents.
However, there’s also an uncanny similarity between the great James Cameron-directed classic and the 2021st edition of the Indian Premier League. And the common link between the two, as it turns out, is Virat Kohli.
How hard, it ought to be asked, is the mere facet of thinking Kohli as a ‘former’ captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, an outfit much loved, a team that many revile to this day for its failure at lifting a crown.
While in the story of Jack and Rose, the former sacrifices his life only to see Rose live ever after, albeit, minus the love of her life, the IPL world, much like Titanic, we shall now see Kohli, who’s sacrificed his captaincy perhaps for the better interest of the team.
But like there was one saviour in the film, Leonardo di Caprio being one, there’s also one and only one hero in the RCB saga, a sob story where their 2021 season stands: Virat Kohli.
And with the risk of sounding rather dramatic, it’s not hard to note, that much like Jack the artist, Kohli too, has a commonality.
What is it?
You needn’t be an Einstein to gather this one, truth be told.
While in the film character, di Caprio’s Jack is an artist who’s revered for his skill, Kohli, in real life, is and has been an artist with the bat.
Not just for his glorious Team India, but also for the Royal Challengers Bangalore- that very side that meme-makers and other creatures on the social media stratosphere take pleasure in deriding as the ‘royally challenged Bangalore.’
Sad it is, unreal even, that in their fondness for trolling, what one doesn’t understand is that Virat Kohli, until his final outing for the famed Bengaluru-franchise did everything possible to push for a cause of winning a title.
Yes, that very sobriquet or silverware that has, even today, remained an elusive find for one of the most exciting collectives on the IPL’s surface.
In the just-concluded edition of the Indian Premier League, Virat Kohli scored 39 of his team’s 138 runs.
Top-scoring not for the first time for a side that so desperately needs a title triumph, almost as if its mere existence depends on it in the format, RCB had in Kohli, a leader who never took no for an answer, and above all, a man who went beyond the call of duty for his side.
The latter, it ought to be noted un-dramatically so, has gone on the record to say that for as long as he plays the IPL will always swear his allegiance to the red.
In some ways, the statement that oozes redoubtable passion also seems apt for a cricketer who always put the interest of his team first before his.
Now, how is that?
Virat Kohli, in all these years, has gone on to score 2,345 of his IPL runs as an opener.
That’s when the world doesn’t need tutoring to understand that Kohli, for national duties and hence, in his customary role, bats at #3 in the ODIs and comes in at four in Tests, Pujara akin to Dravid preceding the former India test captain, who’s been likened to the great Tendulkar.
But comparisons be damned, Kohli’s been the hero RCB needs not the one who will be celebrated much like the Dark Knight.
The saviour who comes into rescue an embattled city when it needs it most, but one that conveniently ducks under cover when glories and garlands of respect are to be extended.
And how’s that?
When has Virat Kohli not said that AB de Villiers is ‘a bigger player’ than me and do so many great things?
Ralph Waldo Emerson is known to have famously said, the mark of a great man is one who’s ever willing to be little.
While the days of participating in temperamental outbursts are long gone, and what remains, is only occasions bouts of passion-not fury as such- Kohli’s batted, been beaten, fallen, risen again and in the process, given it everything for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
No more the kingmaker of a team that had the luxury of seeing both Gayle and AB bat together, with the big man’s departure to Punjab happening a few years back in the day, Kohli arose to carry the mantle of a team for which he was prepared to do anything.
RCB saw the right-hander at his destructive best in 2016, when Virat Kohli scored way in excess of 1000 IPL runs, constructing a mountain of runs and with it, causing vertigo to any who stared at the height of his colossus.
Not the most gifted thinker, you can argue, in the strategy department, Virat Kohli who’s no Dhoni- and probably doesn’t need to be- still has something he should marvel or at the least, feel proud of.
Staying true to his talismanic skill in the game, it being batsmanship, Kohli struck 5 centuries, in addition to 35 fifties as RCB captain.
That’s pride, right?
What’ll hurt, however, is that he oversaw a team that looked perpetually a tad bit incomplete despite having the services of de Villiers, Maxwell, Kohli himself as indicated by the number of matches it lost under the helm of the Delhi-born batter.
But again, given all that he did with absolute honesty and commitment, should the fact that he lost more games than he won- 70 losses to 66 wins- hurt him endlessly or should Kohli stay true to what he said over the mic recently, “No regrets, I gave it everything.”
That’s something that the mighty trier from up north of India has to decide. No one can or will on his part.