Mumbai: The queues were a bit longer as this correspondent entered the Wankhede Stadium to cover the fourth day’s play between India and England on Sunday. While the on-field action is fascinating, at times, it is equally interesting to hear what people think of the game and the cricketers; more so, as they are about to enter the ground.
“Why there’s so much crowd, today? Is Virat still batting?” enquired a lady right behind me in the queue.
“Ya,” someone accompanying her nodded with a big smile on his face.
While a much-improved batting show helped England score 400 after electing to bat at Wankhede; a place where they turned the tables on India in 2012 and wanted to have an encore in 2016; India’s solid reply on day three had dashed those hopes as Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli scored fabulous hundreds. More than 19,000 had turn up to watch the match on Saturday and on Sunday; the numbers would have been on a higher side.
“Is Brett Lee playing too?” the lady continued, not knowing that the Australian cricketer last played an international game in 2012 and that Indian side is facing England.
“I am sorry but he no longer plays international cricket and it is India versus England,” said the gentleman, as he tried his best to balance politeness with disdain (a bit of it).
The lady might have struggled with the details about who were India’s opponents. But she was wise enough to bring up ‘whether Kohli is still batting question’ gauging by the turn-up at the Mumbai venue.
While quite a few kept themselves busy, playing ‘who is better between Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli’ game, with every passing day, it is becoming very clear that Kohli is equally popular across genders and sections of the Indian society.
To put it differently, Kohli, India’s Test skipper and currently one of the best batsmen going around, is a much loved cricketer of his generation. Not just by the crowds present at the stadiums or connoisseurs of the game but also by the fan armies that are present on the social media....