Time magazine’s 100 most influential people list is out. Virat Kohli is in it. The only cricketer who’s playing in that list. Good old Sachin Tendulkar penned the profile - naturally, this has the infidels coming out of the woodwork.
Here’s Virat Kohli’s profile by Sachin Tendulkar in the Time magazine:
“The U-19 World Cup in 2008 was very important for India, as it would define the next bunch of youngsters who would go on to represent the nation. That was the first time I watched this young, passionate player lead India. Today Virat Kohli is a household name and a champion in cricket. Even back then, his hunger for runs and consistency was remarkable, something that has become the hallmark of his game.
Every sportsman knows what it’s like to have good spells and bad ones too. Virat took the criticism he faced during a disappointing West Indies series and returned home with a goal: to improve not only his technique, but also his fitness level. He’s never looked back.
My father always told me that if I focused on what I was doing, over time, detractors would become followers. Virat seems to have a similar outlook when it comes to his game.
I wish him all the best for his career ahead and am confident he will continue to bring pride and glory to India through cricket. Go Virat!”
Tendulkar, a former captain of India’s international cricket team, is widely regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time
The profile has also reopened the age-old, Tendulkar vs Kohli debate. Kohli’s fans are claiming that if Virat were to write a profile on Sachin, he would’ve been far more generous — avoiding any mention of his bad times or captaincy. “Look, in the second para only, Sachin is saying things about that West Indies’ tour — who remembers that? Only Sachin is keeping score! It is disgraceful that he has talked about it. Why couldn’t he instead talk about Kohli as the greatest one-day batsman and chaser — who is threatening his own records and making him quite uneasy too?”, said Hritesh Arora, an irate Kohli fan from West Delhi, arguably the same neighbourhood that Virat grew up in.
Tendulkar’s critics are saying that, as always, he has said a lot by saying nothing. And not surprisingly nothing new. “The thing about Tendulkar is, he can’t help but not have the focus on himself. There was no need for him to write this profile. If he calls himself Vinod Kambli’s friend, he should have asked Kambli to write it. That would’ve kept the focus on Virat and not on Tendulkar”, said senior sports journalist, Doria Mukherjee.
Virat’s female fans are having none of it. A bunch of Lady Shri Ram College students carried placards with “It’s Virat’s TIME, not Sachin’s” and “Best chaser, ask the girls. Sachin!” and with another one hinting at the 100 centuries record held by Tendulkar — “Virat is not after records or tributes, he will retire on top of his game”.
Elsewhere in Mumbai, there was a fresh twist, with rallies adding a Mumbai vs Delhi twist to the Kohli vs Tendulkar debate. Outside Wankhede stadium, young and retired cricketers had gathered in solidarity with Sachin — the gathering started as a Facebook page titled, "It’s always Sachin’s TIME". Retired Mumbai cricketers spoke at length how Sachin was gracious yet grounded in his praise of Virat — and that was the call of the hour.
Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar made a surprise entry. While Shastri said it was praiseworthy of Sachin to take out time from his busy Mumbai Indians’ schedule and write a stirring piece on Virat, senior statesman, Gavaskar believed the latest Kohli vs Tendulkar debate was unhealthy for Indian cricket and both are great servants of Indian cricket — “you see, they both played in different eras even though there was a brief overlap, it’s like comparing a chalk cricketer with a cheese cricketer… you can’t do that… they’re as different as chalk and cheese… maaan…” Gavaskar brought on his West Indian accent losing out on the little attention he had gathered.
It was then that Vinod Kambli arrived, saying that he would’ve liked Sachin to have supported him in the Time article but seeing as they were reunited, he wanted “bygones to be bygones or as they say in cricket, let leg byes be leg byes”.
A fresh television debate “Will Virat write a better profile?” has captured the imagination of the country. After three days on Prime Time, it’s showing little signs of dying out. One elder even pointed out that Virat would never have spoken of Tendulkar as an Under-19 cricketer but as one of his peers. “By reminiscing of his U-19 days, he’s made Virat sound like a school boy when he is fairly and squarely his equal”. The panellists were outraged and staged a walk out. They returned after a brief commercial break, with one DDCA member claiming that Virat will write an even more beautiful profile of Sachin. Or, for that matter, of himself - “Time should have asked Virat to write the profile on himself, there’s nothing he can’t do.”
Virat, however, has shown deep gratitude, and said he couldn’t wait to meet Sachin, and “thank him a 100 times. It’s definitely on my To-do List”.
(However true this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction)