Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match to be played against Sri Lanka at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali starting March 4 is going to be without the spectators behind the closed doors.
The BCCI won’t be allowing any spectators for the upcoming first Test between India and Sri Lanka starting here March 4, which is incidentally legendary Virat Kohli’s landmark 100th Test, a Punjab Cricket Association official stated.
The decision has been taken in the wake of the COVID-19 cases in and around Mohali while also taking into account that most of the Indian players will be linking up with their respective IPL squads just after the end of the second Test in a bubble-to bubble transfer.
“Yes, apart from the people, who are on duty for the Test match, we are not allowing any general spectators as per the directive of BCCI,” senior PCA treasurer RP Singla told PTI on Saturday.
“Still there are fresh COVID cases emerging in and around Mohali, so it’s better we take all safety protocols. Obviously,, the fans miss out because an international match at Mohali is happening after almost three years,” Singla said.
However, PCA is putting up billboards across the stadium to celebrate the momentous occasion in Kohli’s glittering cricket career.
“We will be putting up big billboards and our PCA Apex Council has also decided to felicitate Virat. We will either do it at the start of the game or at the end depending on BCCI directive.”
‘He suddenly became this beast in six months’: Virat Kohli’s recalls India star’s ‘great transformation’ at RCB
Kohli’s recalled that the 29-year-old star had first caught his attention in 2014, during India’s tour of Australia and he was amazed with his confidence and body language.
Former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli recalled one of the best transformation stories of Indian Premier League (IPL) he has come across, revealing the story of India’s 29-year-old star KL Rahul and how he transformed himself into a “beast” in only six months time to put to an impressive 2016 season.
Rahul had joined RCB in 2013 before being roped in by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 1 crore for the next two seasons. But he returned to RCB in 2016 and finished the season as the franchise’s third highest run-scorer with 397 runs in 14 games.
Talking about the two best transformation story he has come across in the league, Kohli picked Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal before he continued on the the former, recalling the 29-year-old in his early days in the IPL.
“The only two people who come to mind for me are KL (Rahul) and Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal). KL Rahul was at RCB in 2013 along with Karun and Mayank. KL Rahul was never a guy who was looked at as a T20 specialist. He was part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015 and Avinash Vaidya was our manager before. He approached me because he was in touch with KL Rahul, and he was not getting any game time. And I had seen him play for India,” said Kohli on ‘The RCB Podcast’.
Kohli however admitted that the two were never really close after Rahul left RCB in 2018, but he kept track of his performance in domestic cricket.
“I hadn’t seen much of KL since he left RCB, and I had heard he is doing well in first-class cricket. He was very young when he was at RCB, and I was already playing for India and we were regularly playing for RCB. So, we never really connected in a very detailed manner,” he added.
The 33-year-old then added that Rahul first caught his attention in 2014, during India’s tour of Australia and he was amazed with his confidence and body language.
“We wouldn’t spend so much time with each other. I had seen him play in Australia in 2014 when he made his Test debut and I felt like, ‘Wow! He’s seriously worked some wonder on his game. He’s come back as an amazing player, and he started off so strongly in Australia.’ I was very impressed with his body language, his confidence, his demeanor,” he said.
“He was playing for the Sunrisers and wasn’t getting many opportunities and the opportunities that he got, I felt like he was playing under pressure, you could see he was trying to prove a point, trying to prove himself in the IPL. When the opportunity came through, I thought, this guy has got unbelievable talent and maybe playing for Bangalore and RCB would ease things off for him because there, he’s playing in front of his home crowd and there’s AB, Chris, and myself here and if KL can play a role, maybe he can grow in confidence.”
Kohli referred to the 2016 season, the year RCB had reached the IPL final for the first time. Rahul had averaged 44.11 in that season with a strike rate of 146.49 with four half-century scores. He however missed the 2017 season owing to a shoulder injury, before leaving for Punjab Kings in 2018.
“He doesn’t need to be the focal point or that youngster who has to prove himself. It’s all about being a part of this great team and showing what he can do. And the way he batted that season, for me, that was a great transformation of seeing a player who was just there and there about to becoming suddenly this beast in six months’ time. From there on he’s carried through,” Kohli said.
Rahul will play the 2022 season of IPL as the captain of Lucknow Super Giants while Kohli will play for RCB for the 15th season