The World's Richest Water-Boy'
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Bipin Dani
In the recent Asia Cup match between India and Bangladesh played in Sri Lanka, former India captain Virat Kohli acted as a ‘water-boy’, much to the amusement of his fans.
Kohli was ‘rested’ for the match, but he did put in an appearance on the field, even if brief, to bring bottles of water for his team – testifying to his commitment to his side and his willingness to support his fellow players in the quest for success. As visuals of Kohli running onto the field in a comical way with the bottles of water triggered a spate of memes on Twitter, social media dubbed the stylish batsman the ‘richest water-boy ever’. In fact, such was the hype around Kohli that broadcasters continued to focus on him though Shardul Thakur had grabbed a wicket!
However, this was not the first time Kohli played ‘water-boy’. A shoulder injury had forced him to sit out the fourth test match against Australia in Dharamsala in 2017 but that didn’t stop him from bringing mid-game drinks out on to the field for his teammates. Nor is Kohli the only one to perform such services. In 2005, Sachin Tendulkar did water-boy duty for the Asia XI team against the ICC World XI. And another former Team India skipper, M.S Dhoni, has done the same, not once but three times! One of those occasions was in 2012, when he carried energy drinks to the Indian batsman during the Tri-series featuring Australia and Sri Lanka.
The world’s greatest batsman, the late Don Bradman, had brought drinks for his Australian teammates who were toiling hard on the field during the second Test match against England in 1928. And four years ago, Scott Morrison, the then Prime Minister of Australia, himself came out on to the field with drinks during the Prime Minister’s XI game in Canberra four years ago.
Given such a history, erstwhile umpire Vinayak Kulkurni was not surprised to see Kohli playing ‘water-boy.’ "I have seen many senior players performing this service as twelfth man during my umpiring days," he says. "Now, the twelfth man concept has changed. The ICC has made it a rule to nominate five players as ‘twelfth man’ or ‘Impact Player’ as they’re now known, and any of them can go to the field to supply water or energy drinks to the team," Kulkurni adds.