Dear Virat Kohli

Many happy returns of the day! Hope you have a wonderful time celebrating.

Virat, I have grown up watching cricket and living it. I remember when India would play a Test match, I would remain glued to the television all five days even if I had been appearing for exams at school. I remember how anxious I would get when electric supply would snap and I would have no way to know the score. The countless fights I had with my siblings for the coveted TV remote to watch cricket are cherished memories. Cricket was what I loved. And, at that time, cricket was what I lived for.

The reason of my maniacal passion for cricket was not cricket itself. The reason was players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble. These men were my idols. My mother wanted me to be like Sachin. He was calm and composed all through his career. He was dignified in his speech and demeanor on and off the field. One can’t say the same about you. Your celebrations of tons with a screaming swear word ‘behen****’, or your middle-finger to the crowd, or your verbal fight with spectators and journalists do not make you a role-model. And that is my problem with you. My idea of cricket was the contest of the ball and the bat. My idols never used cuss words to celebrate or to get back at their opponents. They used their cricketing skills to return verbal volleys.

Virat, players like you were the reason that I stopped watching cricket. But, now you are the reason I watch cricket for. The contradiction is evident in the comment I am making. But, this is the reality. I still despise you from the bottom of my heart for I can never tell the youngsters to be like you. But, that doesn’t matter anymore. As the generation Y will choose their own idols in this age of social media. And they accept you as you are. My realisation of this fact made me take an objective view of you. And that is when I began to be inspired by you.

In this day and age, winning is everything. Being super-energetic is paramount. And living on own terms is the only principle that has meaning. If these are the aspirations and the desires of the young India, you represent young India.

Virat, you are at the top of your game. You take initiative, you assume responsibilities and you want nothing but to win. You don’t want an individual performance just to keep a place in the side. You want to be the person to score the winning runs. You never slack out. You do your best. And if your best isn’t good, you learn to be good. You learn, you play, you win. I am inspired by your work ethics.

Virat, you had raw energy when you were younger. You channelised that aggression and made it your biggest strength. In the recent Test series against New Zealand, you were calm on the field, but your aggression showed in your decisions. The way you have grown as a person inspires me.

You earn big money, you spend most of your time playing, you party, you have fun. But, still you are a doting son to a mother, a responsible younger brother, a complete family man. Your love for your family inspires me to be a better son.

You are getting better everyday at your game. You are world’s best batsman today. And you are just rising. You know why you have the money and the fame. And, you know how to stop success from getting in the head. Your ability to be grounded inspires me to be humble.

For many like me, you will never be a role model as Sachin had been. But, I salute you for your determination. You are inspirational to say the least.