Showbiz Kohli keeps his date with Bengaluru

Virat Kohli's 71st hundred is still conspicuous in its absence and he may not have played his 100th Test in Bengaluru. But on Saturday, he kept his date with the fans. 

Virat Kohli of India in action against Sri Lanka.   -  PTI

At 2.50 pm on Saturday, India captain Rohit Sharma gets out to an outside edge off Lasith Embuldeniya. There is more than an hour to go to the tea break. Two wickets are down. All fans look towards the Indian dressing room. Anticipation builds. The decibel levels increase tenfold. There walks Virat Kohli.

 

And for a fleeting moment, cricket became incidental: it was now between Kohli and his fans. They cheered every single like a milestone and every boundary like an audience serenaded by a pianist.

Bengaluru was initially scheduled to host the first Test, Kohli's 100th, but was later slotted in to host the second Test as it would help the Sri Lankans take a direct flight back home.

Kohli is on billboards, he has an IPL side hashtagging him with nicknames, and adjectives glorifying his every little act on the field. But the relationship between him and his fans remains organic. The fans love a show-stopper and Kohli is showbiz in Test whites.

In the evening session, as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami made the pink ball talk under lights, Kohli was at his animated best in the slip cordon. Like a conductor, Kohli orchestrated a symphony of ear-splitting cheers. As chants of "Virat, Virat!" reverberated, Kohli pointed at the fast bowlers, asking the fans to get behind them.

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In between overs, as the crowd clapped in unison, Kohli broke out into short impromptu dance steps, sending the stadium into a frenzy.

Virat Kohli's 71st hundred is still conspicuous in its absence and he may not have played his 100th Test in Bengaluru. But on Saturday, he kept his date with the fans. 

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