The Kohli and Dhoni show | The Daily Star
08:44 PM, July 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:49 PM, July 08, 2019

The Kohli and Dhoni show

Coming from Bangladesh, the fanfare surrounding cricket and cricketers is par for the course, especially during big events. Media presence around the Bangladesh team, too, is one of the heaviest around the world. But there is a difference between ‘one of the heaviest’ and ‘heaviest’, and that difference was apparent at Old Trafford yesterday.


India skipper Virat Kohli was holding court in the press conference room at Manchester’s premier venue. The room was one of the bigger media spaces seen throughout this World Cup, but even those arriving in time could not secure seats, and many were standing outside the door, stealing peeks, shaky pictures and blurry videos over clustered heads. It almost seemed like media personnel were fans, kept at bay, trying to get a glimpse of their heroes. That ‘almost’ was removed when Kohli made his way out of the half-hour long presser.

Indian reporters crowded him as he headed towards the elevators and he was inundated with selfie and autograph requests, granting and signing all of them as he backed into the lift.

At the adjacent practice ground, it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni who commanded much of the attention. He batted against throwdowns in the nets for a while and then had a long chat with coach Ravi Shastri. A sizeable media contingent was watching the team’s practice, but when Dhoni ambled out of the practice area, at least half of the reporters and photographers followed him. Belated birthday wishes floated through for Dhoni, who celebrated his 38th on July 7, and this being in all likelihood his last World Cup, there was special interest surrounding the 2011 World Cup winning captain.

He strode out onto the Old Trafford grass on his way to the dressing room and asked for the football from teammates who were warming up. He unleashed two powerful kicks, with batting pads still on.

As he went up to the dressing room, reporters again crowded him for selfies and autographs and, like Kohli, he obliged. There was an invitation for biriyani if he went to Kolkata, and Dhoni smilingly said that he would treat them to biriyani if he came to Kolkata.

“75 tomorrow,” came a cry from one of the assembled reporters as Dhoni went up the stairs. “Five sixes, over that side.”

Dhoni just looked down, smiled and went into the dressing room.

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