Last Updated: November 12, 2023, 23:57 IST
The demand has been all along and was perhaps at its loudest during India’s match against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. As the Men in Blue’s pace trio ran through the Lankan batting order, “Kohli ko bowling doh” (Give bowling to Kohli), the batting talisman reacted by folding his hands and leaving him to mercy.
On Sunday, though, the demand was fulfilled for the full house that turned up at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium, who chanted the player’s name as well as “RCB! RCB!”, as Kohli was thrown the ball to bowl the 23rd over of the innings.
The crowd went wild as “the wrong-footed, inswinging menace” as described by head coach Rahul Dravid stood at his mark, to deliver his first ball since bowling against Bangladesh in Pune, a few weeks ago.
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The spell did not begin promisingly as the part-timer was taken for seven runs in his first over. That did not deter Rohit Sharma though, as he gave him a second over. It was to be the six balls that would be remembered by everyone at the venue, for days and years to come.
Ambling in steadily to bowl the fifth ball of his second over, Kohli bowled a ball down the leg-side which took the edge of Scott Edwards’ bat and was caught by KL Rahul. For just one moment, time stood still. Onlookers could not believe what had happened.
But it had happened. Kohli had picked up an ODI wicket- his first since January 2014. He went running, smiling ear to ear, hugging Rahul and the others came around to celebrate with him.
He lifted both his hands upwards, shaking them vigorously and pointed them towards the stands where his wife Anushka Sharma was seated, who could not stop smiling as she reacted back to her husband in the same way. Rohit then came towards and both of them embraced to celebrate the moment.
It was pure joy for a cricketer who, in all seriousness, may not have expected to get the wicket despite having had a bowling stint before the start of play on Sunday. But by coming onto bowl and claiming the wicket of Edwards, Kohli had ensured that he had given the capacity crowd at the venue and those watching at home a Diwali moment to remember for many years to come.