I am a Pakistani and I admire the prodigy that is Virat Kohli

Published: December 17, 2016
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I realised that there is a totally contrasting side to Kohli behind the one we see on the screen and eventually I realised that he is anything but ordinary. PHOTO: TWITTER.

I woke up early for the third day’s play of the fourth Test between India and England at Wankhede Stadium to see Virat Kohli getting to his double century. And of course, it followed with a typical Kohli celebration; a rather mature and modest celebration for a comparatively great achievement. I wanted to see it and when he flicked Adil Rashid to get to his double century, I gave him a standing ovation, albeit in front of the TV.

How did it all start?

How could I love someone who’s from India?

How dare I admire someone, no matter how classy or brilliant he is, if he’s from India?

How could I?

How could I love someone who’s from India? Photo: AFP

It just happened. I couldn’t help myself. Initially, I was the stereotypical Pakistani; hate everyone playing for India and support any team that’s up against them. My initial memories as a cricket fan were of cheering only for Pakistan. After gradually evolving and attaining insight regarding the game, I changed my constricted views, slowly opening my heart to all teams except India and changing my perception to ‘whoever plays well should win, barring India’.

One of my earliest memories of Kohli was when India thrashed Pakistan, as he hit a career best of 183 against us in the Asia Cup 2012 – at that time he was already making a mark as a sublime batsman. Eventually, my grudge against Kohli increased and I was defiant in considering him as anything but average. I still remember when he played that astounding inning against Sri Lanka in Hobart. I wanted India to lose despite how heroic Kohli’s inning was. I even remember how much I enjoyed the moment where Junaid Khan literally humiliated ‘The Virat Kohli’ in his own home ground.

He was an arrogant and immature character on the field. Photo: AFP

Not liking Kohli was absolutely obvious. He was an arrogant and immature character on the field, someone who always considered himself larger than life and didn’t respect the opposition. After years of ardently following cricket, I finally started to acclaim Indian players. M S Dhoni became Mahi bhai for me. Loving Dhoni was easy; he was calm, respectable, sensible and a staunch cricketer unlike Kohli.

I was supporting the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) only because AB de Villiers (my favourite cricketer) was playing and, as a fan of the team being led by Kohli, I got to learn more about the Kohli outside the cricket field. It was then that I came to know about the death of his father and that he played a match on the day after his father’s death. I started to read more about him, about his journey from U-19 to international cricket, about his life, his routine etc. I realised that there is a completely different side to Kohli than the one we see on TV and eventually, I came to realise that he is anything but ordinary.

I realised that there is a completely different side to Kohli than the one we see on TV and eventually, I came to realise that he is anything but ordinary. Photo: AFP

After that, even though he would pile on the runs, it was his attitude that stopped me from eulogising him. But something was still missing, that element that would have me completely overwhelmed.

What really convinced me to love Kohli was his transformation; from an abusive young man to a mature senior member of the team. Ever since I’ve become his fan, the only time he has disappointed me was when he made those derogatory gestures towards the crowd on day two of the Sydney Test. Other than that, he moulded himself so aptly that no one can refute that he became increasingly sane with his choices and attitude. He realised the responsibility on him as a captain and, in IPL 2016, he even batted with a displaced wrist because it was a do-or-die game for his team. He went as far as scoring a century in that game.

It was his attitude that stopped me from eulogising him. Photo: AFP

He single-handedly took his team to the finals in that tournament. He’s always been there for his team whether in batting or fielding. Had he been a bowler, I’m sure he’d have excelled in that too. Kohli has come a long way – from a once-abuser to a brilliant captain. Love him or hate him, if you can’t admire what a prodigy Virat Kohli is, then sorry, you’re not a true cricket fan.

Abdul Moiz Malik

Abdul Moiz Malik

The author is a student and a sports loving geek. For him, cricket is life, followed by football. He tweets @amoizmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Being a Punjabi, Kohli has a huge fan base in Punjab part of Pakistan. Even in cantonment areas, where the so-called “sons of the soil” live.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    I hope they stream IPL matches in Pakistan so Pakistani people do not lose on good cricket.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Here goes TNT for toss.
    “They have different epics, their heroes are different, and different episode[s]”Recommend

  • LOL

    I am also Fan of Skills of Salman Butt,Mohammed Aamir..I am also fan of that kohli clone and that small akmal twitter account..I am also fan of meera english of shoaib akhtar..Even am fan of that faved fiadadRecommend

  • Apoorv Swarup

    If you consider nationality to be an issue to appreciate any form of talent whatsoever then your sense of rationale is deeply flawed. Conversely appreciating talent without any bias is the norm i.e. you aren’t special or deserve credit for doing that!Recommend

  • Samir

    he it a true Punjabi , shared land of both countries – Punjab !Recommend

  • http://sporteology.com/ Sporteolgy

    If we talk about the most searched athletes on the Internet, we will find that Virat Kohli is one of them. It would not be a surprise if Virat Kohli happens to be the most searched cricketer in India. The Indian superstar has had an amazing year in 2016. He was the best batsman of the year thanks to his amazing averages in Test cricket, One Day International Cricket and T20 cricket. He scored many crucial centuries and half centuries for his country. He also played well in the IPL and was one of the best players of the tournament. Due to his amazing performances, Virat Kohli became even more popular in the year 2016. And this popularity was very well reflected in the search result in India and around the world. Many people became his fans and searched for Virat Kohli Images on the internet.
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  • http://sporteology.com/ Sporteolgy

    Virat Kohli is one of the most photographed Indian cricketers of the modern era. So one can find many different pictures and wallpapers of Virat Kohli on different websites. We can hope that Virat Kohli will continue to play well in future and will continue to impress the people around the world with his amazing batting and his strong will power. The way he has finished 2016, it is likely that he will continue to dominate the cricket grounds with his superior batting in the coming years of 2017 and 2018. And with his amazing performances, the fans will continue to get access to many more classic and spectacular Virat Kohli images. What do you guys think about Virat Kohli and his wallpapers on the Internet?

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    Virat Kohli Net Worth | Salary | Endorsements | Lifestyle

    You can read here all Virat Kohli Life Style Information , All Virat Kohli Salary how they come Rich and how they become friend with Anushka and all other information that you need
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    After gradually evolving and attaining insight regarding the game, I changed my constricted views, slowly opening my heart to all teams except India and changing my perception to ‘whoever plays well should win, barring India’.Recommend

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    he it a true Punjabi , shared land of both countries – Punjab !Recommend