By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | December 13, 2016
At the outset, let me make it clear: I am no Virat Kohli fan. In fact, I now sporadically watch cricket matches: sometimes once in three years. I lost interest in the game when the ‘match-fixing’ scandal hit the headlines, sometime in the year 2000. Here is how I felt then (my piece in the Bombay Times on April 27, 2000. The decline and fall of the cricketing empire). Like millions of Indian cricket fans, I still feel cheated. Since then, my cricket-watching fervor has all but diminished and I never really got to sitting near a television set to watch even one full One-dayer: the last being India’s World Cup win in 2011. Oh yes, I did watch the inaugural T-20 World Cup as well.
But of the little that I follow in the media, and through my cricket connects, I do know of Virat Kohli and I do know that he is the star of the Indian team and I do know that even 12-year-olds know about him and talk about him. This newfound respect for Kohli I gained when my 12-year-old daughter began speaking about him at dinner table. For Kohli to have that effect, he should be something, I guess.
But who is James Anderson?
This was a googly to me. When the City Editor of a leading tabloid asked me for my views on whether James Anderson was right in calling Kohli a flat track bully, my immediate response to him was: “Who is James Anderson?” He was aghast. Me, a cricket buff know nothing about James? He thought I was kidding. I was not.
Google came to my rescue. I learnt that James is an English bowler who made his debut for his country in 2003. There, you have it. I quit watching cricket in 2000, so how was I supposed to know a James Anderson?
But yes, I do know of Andrew Flintoff. Who doesn’t? James and Andrew are similar in height, proportion and are both fast bowlers. Now, it appears, they are similar in their thoughts as well!
We all know how Flintoff rubbed Yuvraj Singh the wrong way when India played the English team in the T-20 World Cup tournament in South Africa. Did Yuvraj feel bad? I guess he did. India also did rejoice. What Flintoff actually did was dent Stuart Broad’s confidence! Yuvi kept seeing Flintoff every time Broad bowled to him. And every ball in that over was over the top!
And what about the “Pie-chucker” comment by Kevin Pieterson, “A purveyor of left-arm filth?”
James Anderson has done his bit to deflect the headlines to himself, despite Virat Kohli’s magnificent double hundred. To Virat’s defence I would say: “No, Virat is not a flat-track bully. He has scored three consecutive double hundreds in three Test series, one of which came in West Indies. And James knows the speed with which the ball travels to the bat in that part of the world!”
Virat has proved that he has the “IT” factor. I saw that spark in the second IPL in 2009, when he played for Royal challengers Bangalore. The way he kept running up to Anil Kumble, the captain, his hunger to participate and be in the action all the time, and his body language told me that he would do something great. He had champion written all over himself.
I only hope Virat Kohli does not do a Saurav Ganguly on the Balcony at Lords to get back at James Anderson!